Cardinal: There Are Icicles on the Pews

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    Francis Cardinal George said there were icicles on the pews Wednesday morning after a fire ravaged the historic Holy Name Cathedral.

    Cardinal Francis George went inside Holy Name Cathedral on Wednesday morning to survey the damage, shortly after the fire was out.

    "First of all, we want to thank God that no one was injured ... Father Mayall, the priests, the sisters who live in the convent are all safe. There was one firefighter whose back was sprained while trying to get into the crawl space. We should pray for his health and recovery," he said.

    Cardinal George: "Icicles on the Pews and Water Pouring Through the Ceiling"

    [CHI] Cardinal George:  "Icicles on the Pews and Water Pouring Through the Ceiling"
    Cardinal George reacts to the damage caused by a 3-alarm fire in the roof of Holy Name Cathedral. The fire started at 5:30 this morning above the Cathedral's sacristy. (Published Wednesday, Feb 4, 2009)

    The cardinal said the damage wasn’t at first apparent.

    “If you walk into the cathedral, at first glance everything is intact, and then you notice there are icicles on the pews ... and there’s water pouring through the electrical installations.

    “The gas is on, they didn’t have to turn the gas off, so the cathedral is bright and lit, but there’s water coming through the light fixtures, lots of it.

    “I was with the rabbi who’s the chaplain for the fire department. He was trying to part the water once again, but he didn’t succeed,” the cardinal said, with a small chuckle. “I’m grateful for his presence and for everyone’s presence.”

    George said that Father Compton "thought to rescue the blessed sacrament," getting it out of the cathedral undamaged.