Late night fire causes damage to vesting room, Cathedral safe

August 09, 2021

There was a fire in the clergy vesting room around 8 pm last night. The fire department quickly responded and extinguished the fire. The good news is that our security system and fire protocols work: the greatest damage was contained in one room. The robes and banners in the Acolyte vesting room and Cathedral may smell bad, but they are intact. It does appear that the chasubles and stoles in the chest may only have smoke damage. We are indebted to the good work of Ricky Parks, the Little Rock Fire Department and Fire Marshall. Because of their swift response, the fire was quickly extinguished. Most of all, no one was hurt and the Cathedral is safe. Alleluia!

Due to the good work of Mary Hodges, Staley Electric was here by 10am. They have secured the Cathedral, Morrison Hall, and the Parish House electrically. There is no power going to the Dean's Hall.

Church Insurance had ServPro here by Noon. He has examined the Cathedral and Dean's Hall. While the Cathedral and Parish House were not damaged, the smoke smell is quite strong. We are already working on deodorizing the Cathedral. And have made the difficult decision to close ECEP for tomorrow (they were already scheduled to be closed wednesday to friday for teacher training.

Dean's Hall will take more time and we have extensive work in our future. Unfortunately, the damage in the clergy vesting room is extensive. The robes and vestments in the closets will need to be inventoried and examined before we can say any more about them.

Thankfully, our colleagues in the Bishop’s office,  St. Mark's and Christ Church are already providing us vestments to use in worship as soon as this Sunday. We are blessed with wonderful colleagues in ministry!

Colin MacKnight, our Director of Music,  is communicating with organ specialists to determine how we care for and protect the instrument.

I am sorry to say that this fire was created by a person. We do not know if it was intentional or an accident. And, there is evidence that there was someone on campus attempting to break into those rooms and who, likely, caused the fire. Mary and I are already discerning what needs to change in our security protocols to, hopefully, prevent these circumstances in the future. We will communicate these decisions to you in the future.

You may have questions: please call Lisa or myself. You may want to do something: I promise - as soon as there is something to do, we will ask for help. Please pray for the staff: we are blessed with an incredible staff, many who were here with me and the Bishop until as early as 1am this morning to ensure the Cathedral was safe.

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