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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 November, 2003, 18:13 GMT
Fire damages city chapel
Firefighters entering Tabernacle Chapel
Around 20 firefighters were called to the chapel
A fire has damaged one of Cardiff's most famous chapels causing thousands of pounds of smoke damage.

Firefighters tackled the blaze at Tabernacle Baptist Chapel in the city centre on Wednesday.

Although the fire was contained in the hallway of the Grade III listed building in The Hayes, it is thought it will be unsafe for use for the next three months.

It is believed the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

Fire officers said they were lucky to save the building after the fire broke out in the small room off the main lobby.

Dozens of hymn books were destroyed and there was extensive smoke damage.

Denzil John, the minister at the chapel said: "It was full of thick dense smoke when we arrived there.

"And now there is a thick layer of dust over everything.

"The books have all been destroyed and the main worship area won't be accessible for at least three months while the clean up goes on.

"We hope we can carry on using the vestry while the repairs are being undertaken.

Tabernacle Chapel, Cardiff
Around 20 firefighters were called to the chapel

"We didn't realise the extent of the damage at first and thought that with an army of folk with mops and buckets the place would be cleaned up in no time.

"But the experts say it is a lot worse that we first thought and we are going to have to get the professionals in to clear it up.

"Thankfully we have insurance which will pay for the repairs so at least finding the money won't be a headache to us.

"We have had a lot of offers of help from other churches and organisations which we are very grateful to," he added.

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