Chesterfield church a ‘total loss’ after early-morning fire

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A church in Chesterfield County burned to the ground after catching fire early Monday morning.

An 8News viewer said they discovered the fire at Centenary United Methodist Church, located on 11200 Beaver Bridge Road, at around 4 a.m., at which point “it was almost burnt to the ground.”

Roughly four hours later, Chesterfield Fire spokesperson Lt. Jason Elmore declared the church ‘a total loss.’

No one was inside of the church at the time of the fire.

Chesterfield County Fire said there are no fire hydrants in this part of the county, so crews had to transport the water supply to battle the fire.

Firefighters used roughly 47,000 gallons of water and were able to get the fire under control in an hour and eight minutes.

A firefighter told 8News that nothing is left of the church except a couple stones in the front of the building.

In a tweet, Chesterfield Fire PIO said, “Sad story for members of Centenary UMC.”

In total, three tankers and five engines, as well as a ladder truck, medic and two supervisors, all responded from Chesterfield County. An additional tanker also responded from Amelia County.

Pastor Pennie Foy said they are holding a prayer service at Bethia United Methodist at 7 p.m. Monday.

“Even though we have lost the building, we have not lost our church itself,” Foy said. “”This is where they’ve gone to church. This is where they have served for many years. There are so many stories, where they’ve been baptized, where their children have been baptized, where they were married. There are so many memories here and for them it’s the grieving process that we’re going to have to go through.”

Scott Phillips, a member of the church, rushed over moments after he heard about the fire. He’s been attending service at the church for more than 53 years and his parents are buried together in the church’s cemetery.

“It’s just like a part of your family gone,” Phillips said, “the congregation is going to get together and do what we have to do to get back on our feet.”

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

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