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Mormon Chapel Gutted After Fire Breaks Out During Services

This article is more than 10 years old.

A fire gutted a Mormon chapel in Cambridge after breaking out during Sunday morning services.

(Video by Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

About 300 people were inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meeting house at the time, but officials say it appears everyone was able to make it outside safely. At midday, the sky over Harvard Square was choked with smoke. Parishioners dressed in their Sunday best watched firefighters try to salvage the building.

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Attendance at the church was larger than usual because the parish was part of a national teleconference with Mormon church leaders in Utah. One church member, standing outside in a dress shirt and tie and clutching a portable projector, said he evacuated after hearing a smoke alarm. He said he expected it to be a false alarm, but the church quickly became engulfed in flames.

The chapel, which is about 60 years old, was gutted. The roof collapsed, but the steeple remained standing. It faces Longfellow Park on Brattle Street & Hawthorn Street, near Harvard Square.

The fire was was reported just before 11 a.m. Sunday. Officials say it started in the building's attic and quickly reached three alarms.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This program aired on May 17, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrew Phelps Reporter
Andrew Phelps was formerly a producer and reporter for WBUR.


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