Fire controlled at New York cathedral

Published February 1, 2002

New York

An early morning fire which broke out Dec. 18 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York was brought under control after as many as 200 firemen battled it for two and a half hours. No one was injured.

The fire was mostly contained to the gift shop, and the outside of the cathedral on the north side.

There was severe water damage to the cathedral itself, including water in the basement. There was some concern about the tapestries on the north wall, and about the columbarium. The organ appeared to be undamaged.

Fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen said it was likely the fire had started overnight, based on its extent by the time firefighters had arrived. The homeless shelter in the cathedral was evacuated.

The only event canceled at the cathedral was the 8:30 a.m. eucharist, said Neva Rae Fox, director of communications for the diocese of New York.

She also said the school located near the cathedral had not been damaged. Construction on the medieval-style Episcopal cathedral began in the late 19th century and has been ongoing since.


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