Historic Cathedral destroyed by fire in Ireland

1On 25th December 2009, the historic St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford (Ireland) was completely gutted after a blaze tore through the building a few hours after midnight Mass had been celebrated. The alarm was raised at 5am on Christmas morning. All local fire brigades fought the blaze for six hours before gaining some control at approximately 11am. Probably, the blaze began at the back of the Cathedral. Flames rose as high as 60 foot as icy conditions hindered water supplies. The damage to the interior was extensive as the roof of the building collapsed and the beautiful stained glass windows, including works by artist and illustrator Harry Clarke, were destroyed due to the heat.
No one was injured in the fire. Several fire brigade units battled for hours to bring the blaze under control.
The blaze is thought to have broken out at around 5am and it is believed that the blaze may have started at the back of the cathedral before spreading.
2Building work on the cathedral, a flagship church in the midlands, began in the 1840s.
Freezing weather disrupted attempts by firefighters to put out the blaze as their pipes were frozen solid. The fire went on for several hours and at one point flames jumping sixty feet into the air were reported. The estimated cost of the damage to the cathedral was 10 million euros, even if precious artifacts like St Mel’s Crosier, a priceless relic of exquisite craftsmanship dating from over a 1,000 years ago, were burned.Police began investigating the cathedral on January 6, 2010 and determined two days later that it had not been arson.

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