Fire bedevils Holy Name roof

The Chicago cathedral's roof deicing system could be the culprit; the city and archdiocese will issue a report on the official cause upon completion of the investigation.
By Source: Chicago Tribune March 3, 2009

In early February, parishioners at a historical Chicago Catholic church were forced out into the cold by a fire—and the roof deicing system could be the culprit.

According to a Chicago Tribune report , crews had worked on the Holy Name Cathedral’s roof ice buildup prevention system days before the Feb. 4 blaze struck in the early morning hours. The system, which consists of a warming cable installed along the north and south sides of the cathedral roof, had been malfunctioning, leaving the roof covered with ice. The archdiocese directed the roofing company contracted to maintain the roof to repair the system.

The Chicago Fire Dept. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives are inspecting the roof in order to determine the official cause. Fire Dept. spokesperson Larry Langford said that an electrical engineer will examine the deicing system closely to determine whether it may have overheated or malfunctioned.

While investigators and repair crews work, masses have been relocated to the basement of the adjacent parish center. Because insurance may not cover the cost of repairing the damages, the archdiocese is holding a fundraising dinner on March 30.