Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Sunday, 23 March 2008

Cathedral emptied by Easter fire

Interior of Norwich Cathedral
The 400-strong congregation had to evacuate the cathedral

Norwich's Anglican cathedral had to be evacuated midway through an Easter service as candles set off fire alarms.

The 400-strong congregation lit candles at the Saturday evening service to symbolise Jesus's resurrection but as the flames grew fire alarms sounded.

Revd Jan McFarlane, of the Diocese of Norwich, said the congregation were ushered out and the fire service arrived somewhat bemused.

The cathedral was not damaged and the service was able to continue.

Ms McFarlane said: "New Christians were baptised and confirmed by the Bishop of Norwich and the cathedral was filled with light from the candles and incense.

"Sadly, it was all a bit too much for the fire detection system and half-way through the Eucharistic prayer we were interrupted by the fire alarm and an automated voice telling us to evacuate the cathedral.

"Clearly fire detection systems can't cope with the Resurrection of Jesus!

"The congregation of around 400 were ushered out of the cathedral and the fire brigade arrived in minutes.

"They looked somewhat bemused to be greeted by the Bishop and the Dean in full vestments, but they were soon able to establish that there wasn't a fire, and the service resumed."

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