The Catholic Church in Grenada is yet to calculate its loss, following a major fire at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, which destroyed the Sacristy around 11:30am on 13 July 2014.
Administrator of the Church, Father Valentine Anyanwu said on Monday, that a team of persons will have to calculate the loss, but he believes that it can run into the thousands. “The area damaged also had the control for the Public Address system that is used during mass, the controller for the Tower, and all other electronic equipment in the church,” he said, explaining that as a result of the fire there was no mass on Monday morning.
Father Valentine Anyanwu further noted that, “There will be no midday mass either because the things required for having mass were either damaged or destroyed.” He was unsure as to when mass will resume. An official report from the Community Relations Department of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), revealed that firefighters responded to an emergency call around 11:30am and with no delay, were able to contain the fire.
“The affected room sustained smoke, soot and fire damages to its ceiling, as well as smoke and heat damage to the walls. The Church also lost several important documents, religious vestments including all of the altar servers’ gowns, and the chastibles that were used by the priests and other items, in the fire,” stated the report from the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF). It did not provide details as to the possible cause of the fire.
The Cathedral is one of the landmark buildings in the city of St George’s. It was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Along with a loan from the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), special offerings collections and numerous fundraisers, regular worshipping resumed at the Cathedral in 2010. The church still owes EC$1.8 million to NIS.
Later the same evening, the RGPF responded to another fire which completely destroyed the remains of Hamilton House which was formerly owned by the Catholic Church. Homeless persons had taken up residence in the hurricane damaged ruin, but it is not clear what was responsible for the outbreak of the fire, nor was anyone injured.
Formerly the Hamilton Almshouse, Hamilton House was founded almost 170 years ago, by Lady Hamilton, the wife of a former Lieutenant Governor of the colony, Ker Baillie Hamilton. The premises on Lucas Street, provided for ‘respectable women in straitened circumstances.’