From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Fire contained at Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Date Tue, 18 Dec 2001 10:35:24 -0500 (EST)

2001-354 UPDATE

Fire contained at Cathedral of St. John the Divine

 (ENS) A fire which broke out Tuesday morning, December 18 at 
the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York has apparently 
been brought under control after nearly 21/2 hours, at 9:25 a.m. 

The cause of the fire was not known.

Fire officials said the blaze apparently started in the gift shop area 
and engulfed the east side of the cathedral, which spans an entire 
block between Amsterdam Avenue and Morningside Avenue in

The fire began around 6:42 a.m. and as many as 200 firefighters 
were on the scene. Huge plumes of smoke covered the area, forcing 
officials to close off surrounding streets.

For New Yorkers, the cathedral is a significant landmark and serves 
as a school, concert hall and cultural center.

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 said the school located near the cathedral on Amsterdam Avenue at 112th 
Street had not been damaged. A recorded message said the school was closed 
as a result of the fire.

"As far as our Christmas schedule, we need to figure out where we 
are and what the damage is," Fox said, explaining that a variety of 
choruses and services are scheduled over the next week. "That 
decision will probably be made later on today."

Construction on the medieval-style Episcopal cathedral began in the 
late 19th century and renovation of the facility has been ongoing since.

For more information and frequent updates, go to

--The Associated Press, Newsday and contributed to this report.

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