Saturday, December 26, 2009

Irish Cathedral Burned: St. Mel's, Longford

My guess is that it'll take a while to figure out just what started the fire in Longford's St. Mel's yesterday. The Catholic Church in Ireland hasn't had much good news lately.
"The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr Colm O'Reilly, has said he will restore St Mel's Cathedral in Longford after a devastating fire on Christmas morning caused damage estimated at more than €2 million.

"Gardai in Longford say that, while an investigation is already under way into the cause of the fire, a full forensic examination of the scene will not be possible until the fire services have made the building safe and handed it over to gardaí...."
(RTÉ News)
That €2 million is, I assume, €2,000,000.1 That would make the damage around 2,800,000 USD (xe)
Arson? Maybe, Maybe Not
If I let my imagination go one way, it's "obvious" that this fire "must be" arson, a response to the Murphy report and a very serious problem with an archdiocese in Ireland caught trying to shield at least one pedophile priest, and cover up the scandal.

But there's no evidence of that. A whole lot of things can go wrong in a building that's over a century and a half old - or any other building.

On the other hand, there's no evidence that it's not arson.

Like I said, investigators aren't being allowed into what's left of the cathedral yet.

I checked, just a minute ago (1:37 p.m. Central). Sure enough, the speculation's starting: Or, rather, acknowledgment that - given recent events in Ireland - arson is by no means incredible as an explanation for how the fire started.

It's 'Obvious?' Not to Me, Not Yet

The only thing that seems certain right now is that a fine building, built in the mid-1800s (RTÉ), burned. And that there was a whole lot of damage.

The most recent news reports I saw said that investigators couldn't get inside yet, because the cathedral may not be structurally stable any more.

The fire started sometime after the end of St. Mel's midnight Mass. One report said "The fire is understood to have started just after 5am on Christmas Day." (RTÉ)

For everyone concerned, I hope this fire wasn't arson. That sort of hate isn't good for anyone (September 1, 2009)

This is just a suggestion: but you might consider praying for the Church in Ireland, and for folks living in Longford. They're not having a particularly good time, these days.

"St Mel's Cathedral fire"

longfordleader1, YouTube (December 25, 200)
video, 2:09

(no description)

This is the video which also appears on Patrick Madrid's post, "Christmas Morning Shocker: Majestic Irish Cathedral Destroyed by Fire " (December 26, 2009).

"Longford Cathedral Christmas Day Inferno"

michaelcabz, YouTube (December 25, 2009)
video, 2:38

"Christmas morning fire at St Mel's Cathedral Longford"

Definitely amateur video of the fire - whoever's holding the camera tilts it on its side at one point, to get the cathedral's tower in the picture. That's not a criticism: amateur video, that doesn't get cut and spliced by news editors, can give at least as good a 'picture' of what's happened as the more polished professional shots.


DOCDOHERTY2009, YouTube (December 25, 2009)
video, 5:54

"This was the scene hours after the fire first occured at st mels cathedral in longford!"

Never mind the all-caps headline and exclamation mark: This is another good bit of amateur video, showing what seems to be a later stage of the fire, with ambient sounds and the voices. Also shows a bit of the streets of Longford: and a reporter and cameraman interviewing a fireman. Firefighter. Whatever.

Posts about the Church in Ireland: Posts touching on hate: Another blogger's commentary: In the news:
A tip of the hat to patrickmadrid, on Twitter, for the heads-up on this event.

1 Differences between American and British terms for big numbers used to start with 1 times 10 to the ninth, or 1,000,000,000 (" 'billion': a U.K. view" - and there's a rather snippy comment elsewhere online)


Recorder said...

Some interesting additions to this story here:

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Thanks for the URL.

Sorry about the delay: I'm finally catching up on December '09 posts.

Anonymous said...

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