Unattended candles determined cause of New York cathedral fire
The fire that destroyed a 161-year-old Manhattan cathedral last month was sparked by Easter candles left burning by a caretaker, officials said Thursday. “Fire marshals have . . . determined that candles, which had not been completely extinguished, caused the fire,” FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon was quoted as stating in a New York Post article. Investigators were able to find evidence in the remains of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava that proved caretaker, Slobodan Ljubenko, 69, had accidentally caused the May 1 fire by failing to put out the candles, sources said. No charges are expected. The tragedy reinforces the importance of reviewing candle safety tips in religious settings. Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder. Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire. Places of worship should be equipped with a fire detection and sprinkler system. NFPA's Religious Candle Safety tip sheet provides additional information on using candles safely in places of worship. We want to hear from you! It's easy to comment on posts: just look for the log in link above to log in or register for your free account on Xchange. Xchange is more than a blog; it's an online community that connects you with peers worldwide and directly with NFPA staff. Get involved today!