Thanks to:
Visit the website for pictures!!

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -- A massive fire has gutted most of the historic Villa de Chantal in Rock Island early Thursday morning.

The fire started around 3:00 a.m. in the 2000 block of 16th Avenue. Rock Island, Moline and Rock Island Arsenal fire departments were on the scene to battle the blaze.

The flames could be seen from miles away.

Neighbors say seeing it up close was unreal. “It was unbelievable,” said Nik Spurgetis. “I could feel the heat from the block here."

“You could see the flames shooting over the trees and through the windows."

Tracy and Valerie Smith live just two houses away. "I just thought to grab my camera and ran out the door,” said Valerie.

That camera made it to the front of the building capturing some amazing pictures.

There were some scary moments for neighbors as chunks of the building and burning embers were flying everywhere, some straight for their homes.

"Police [were] knocking on doors so people could watch their roofs so they didn't catch on fire,” said Tracy Smith.

Rock Island Fire Chief Jerry Shirck says there were some real concerns.

"We had a lot of embers coming off this west wing going down onto 20th Street," said the chief.

At least two brush fires ignited nearby. Once all the flames were out, we got to see what’s left of the Villa up close.

"It's kind of sad, it will never be the same the building.”

Now just a shell, much of the building is a complete loss. Fire officials say the gym may have been saved.

The Villa was built in 1900-01 and the late Gothic Revival style building was declared a landmark in 1994.

Parts of the building were being rented out at the time of the fire. The villa was home to Morning Star Academy until last month.

There are no injuries reported.

Rock Island police are still working to determine the cause of the fire.