Arson To Blame For Eden Hall Chapel Fire
Monday, July 10th 2006
(CBS 3) PHILADELPHIA
A three-alarm fire that gutted the historic Eden Hall Chapel in Northeast Philadelphia was intentionally set, Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers said Monday.
Flames burned through the 157 year-old gothic style chapel at 4800 Grant Avenue early Sunday, setting back the dreams of the late Joseph Fluehr Sr. to preserve the historical church and the surrounding 61-acre park.
Officials said the destructive fire was intentionally set.
"It is an incendiary fire, so the arson task force will be looking into that fire," said Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers.
In recent years, the chapel and surrounding structures had fallen prey to vandals.
"The vandalism is just relentless, and it seems like the more we do, the more they do," said Maureen Fluehr.
Money had to be raised to put fencing and lighting around the church, which has been tied to a convent and boarding school in the past.
"Mother Catherine Drexel 's parents were buried in a crypt here. Jacqueline Kennedy's two aunts, who were in the Madames of the Sacred Hearts were stationed here," said Fluehr.
A meeting was scheduled with the Fairmount Park Commission to assess the damage and determine whether the restoration project can move forward.
If the inspection proves the structure can be saved, neighbors said they will try to raise the funds needed for the extensive restoration.
"We hope to continue the restoration process," said Jim Valerano.
Authorities are still investigating the blaze. No arrests have been made.
This article was written by Dick Standish and published by CBS 3 on Monday, July 10th 2006 and NOT owned by nor affiliated with opacity.us, but are recorded here solely for educational use. The photographs featured in the article are randomly selected from the Eden Hall Chapel galleries on opacity.us unless noted otherwise; they may not directly relate to the article subject matter except for the site location - any other relation is purely coincidental.