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In New York, World's Largest Gothic Cathedral on Fire

Aired December 18, 2001 - 08:27   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: More breaking news for you this morning. We have late word on the fire we've been following at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Manhattan's upper West Side. Let's turn to Maria Hinojosa, who lives just blocks away from what is considered the world's largest Gothic cathedral -- Maria, what can you tell us?

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in fact, this is the world's largest Gothic cathedral. It was started to be built in the year -- let's see -- 1892. So this is something of quite of an important New York landmark.

What we do know is that this fire started sometime around 6:45 this morning. At this point, they've got 50 units, 200 firefighters. They are saying that the fire is still not under control, but it is concentrated in the gift shop area.

The school, which is right next to the cathedral, is apparently fine. And as we know -- as what we know right now is that there no injuries, but there are scheduled masses here every morning at 8:00 o'clock in the morning. Those, of course, have been canceled.

Half a million people visit the Cathedral of St. John the Divine every year. It is the largest -- world's largest Gothic style cathedral. And at this point, the cathedral extends an entire block. What we're seeing here now is that the fire is on the eastern side of 113th Street, and there are firefighters -- many people still -- one, two, three -- three plumes of water coming in, trying to get the fire under control.

But as I said, the good news here, at least, is that there appear to be no injuries.

ZAHN: All right. Maria, thank you so much for that update. About the only thing we can tell from this aerial view is that it does appear that part of the roof has collapsed at St. John the Divine.

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