Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Thursday, 9 July 2009 16:50 UK

Service to mark York Minster fire

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Service marks York Minster fire

People involved in saving York Minster after it was devastated by a huge blaze 25 years ago have gathered for a public service of thanksgiving.

On 9 July, 1984, fire swept through the south transept, destroying part of the roof and damaging the famous 16th Century Rose Window.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze, which started in the early hours after a probable lightning strike.

The firefighter in charge at the time has spoken of his pride for his team.

The anniversary is an appropriate time for us to pause and thank God for the heroism, skill and dedication of all those involved in fighting the fire
The Very Reverend Keith Jones

Peter Wright, who was in charge of Red Watch on the night of the fire and who was one of the first firefighters at the scene, also spoke of his relief that the building was saved.

Speaking after the service he said: "I'm very proud of my men, very proud of Red Watch. I have nothing but admiration for them.

"They actually scaled the outside of the Minster, they actually hauled their ladders up, their hoses up, they actually had to fight the fire, whereas I could actually move around the Minster and see different things which they hadn't seen.

"The Minster is such a beautiful building that it would have been a pity for it to burn down and I think the reason it didn't burn down was the pride of the men who belong to York who said in their minds, this was their fire and they were going to put it out."

York Minster

Restoration work took a total of four years and cost about £2.25m.

The Minster is considered one of Europe's finest Gothic buildings, with parts of the present cathedral dating back to the 13th Century.

The restoration of the Rose Window was carried out by the York Glaziers' Trust and became one of the most challenging tasks in stained glass ever undertaken.

The window had cracked in the intense heat but thanks to lead work 12 years before the fire, the glass stayed in its frame.

The roof was repaired using the traditional structure and materials of medieval buildings.

Everyone involved in saving York Minster on the night, or in its four-year restoration programme, was invited to the public service.

The Dean of York Minster, the Very Reverend Keith Jones, said: "The anniversary is an appropriate time for us to pause and thank God for the heroism, skill and dedication of all those involved in fighting the fire, dealing with the devastation afterwards and restoring the Minster over the next four years."



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