by fire, its leaders pledged Wednesday, December 19, to continue Christmas services there.

"We will bless the city as we have done always," said Rev. E. Don Taylor. Bishop Mark Sisk said earlier that worshippers can count on Christmas services here, despite damage from Tuesday’s blaze which destroyed a gift shop inside the cathedral as well as two 17th century tapestries.

The fire also left the floor of the nave with smoke and 3 inches of water, the Associated Press reported. Despite church leaders pledged to continue Christmas services inside the Cathedral, officials warned that some events will be held outside.


They include a concert on Thursday called "A Cathedral Christmas" and a Friday performance of Handel’s "Messiah" which were expected to be moved from the Cathedral to an auditorium on cathedral grounds.

The New York Post news paper praised the hundreds of fireman involved in containing the fire as "New York’s Bravest". It noted that they "battled thick, black smoke and orange flames for more than two hours to keep the mysterious, five-alarm blaze contained to the Episcopal cathedral’s gift shop."


"We had zero visibility inside the church," the newspaper quoted Lt. Bobby Savarese as saying. He added that while they waged war on the flames, the firefighters took pains to protect the 109-year-old cathedral’s relics and stained-glass windows, "mindful that it was a house of God."

The Cathedral located at Amsterdam Ave. and 113th St. in New York has been under construction for more than a century. Investigators believe the fire broke out in the gift shop.

There have been no reports about injuries—in a City well aware of terrorist threats following the September 11 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people.


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