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Lightning may have started fire at historic Black church in Virginia

Posted at 10:03 AM, Aug 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 10:03:17-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- Fire officials in Virginia say that lightning may have sparked a massive fire that destroyed an historic Black church in the city of Chesapeake.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that an early Friday morning fire destroyed much of the Gabriel Chapel AME Zion Church.

The church says on its website that it’s the oldest in what is known as the Long Ridge and Cuffeytown Community.

It was established in 1866 by free Blacks following the Civil War.

Fire Capt. Christopher Mackiewicz said it took about two and a half hours to get the blaze under control.