's Catholic Church, in Philadelphia
, was entirely destroyed on Tuesday, the 26th ult. The fire broke out in the tower of the church.
The wind was blowing freshly, and the fire soon spread upward to the cupola on the top of the tower, and to the roof of the church — Firemen early reached the scene, but for a time they could render very little service, owing to the fear that the timbers composing the frame- work of the cupola, and the large cross on the top of it would fall.
The cross finally fell upon the roof of the church, and went through it, and the bell in the cupola also came down falling into the basement.
No one was injured by either.
By this time the fire had spread along the roof of the church, and though the firemen made great efforts to check it, they were unable to do so. It continued to spread until the entire structure was enveloped in flames.
During the entire period of the burning members of the church and firemen exerted themselves to save the paintings and the furniture of the church.
There were three altars in the edifice — one called St. Joseph
's altar, another Sodality altar, and a third, the main one, over which was a large painting of the crucifixion.
One of the altars was surmounted by a statue of the Virginia Italian
marble, and another was constructed of Italian
The statue and paintings were got out uninjured, as well as most of the minor ornaments of the altars — such as vases, pictures, &c.
The organ, which cost $2,400, is thought to be ruined, though its condition is not known, as it is covered with the timber of the roof.
Most of the church furniture, and most of the sacred vessels, were rescued.
The fire continued to burn until nearly all the wood work was destroyed.
It is believed that the walls are not injured.
The condition of the bell is not known, as it is in the basement, covered with rubbish.
Saint Panl's church was one of the largest and handsomest buildings in the city.
The interior decorations were of the most beautiful character, and the exterior was much admired.
The cost of the building is said to have been seventy-five thousand dollars. It is known that there was a partial insurance upon it, but the amount could not be ascertained, because of the absence of Bishop Wood
from the city.
The organ was fully insured.
's was erected in 1843, but it was not finished for several years after.
During the riots of 1844, fears of its destruction were entertained, and a military company guarded it for several days.
The regular pastor of it, Rev. Patrick Francis Sheridan
, is now in Ireland
The assistants in charge of it at this time are Priest O'Harran and Father Hannegan
Of the origin of the fire nothing is known.
There had not been any fire in the furnaces since Sunday, so that the fire could not have originated from a defective flue, as was thought by some.
The fewer in which the flames were first discovered can only be reached through the house occupied by the clergyman, and as the servants were home at the time, no stranger could have gone into it without having been seen.