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National Cathedral Gets Safety Nets To Guard Against Debris

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The earthquake damage to the National Cathedral has prompted the installation of safety nets.
Patrick Madden
The earthquake damage to the National Cathedral has prompted the installation of safety nets.

Safety nets are being installed along the ceiling of the Washington National Cathedral to guard against falling debris after the building was damaged by an earthquake last week.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast caused the tips of three of the four spires of the cathedral's central tower to break off, sending stonework crashing onto the building's roof.

Head stonemason Joe Alonso says the overall structure of the cathedral remains sound.

"We have not found any large cracks or large pieces of stone ready to come down in the celiing," Alonso observes. "That is a good sign, combed every inch of these lower ones, really you want to say we are wearing belts and suspenders to get the Nave ready to use."

The cathedral plans to re-open the weekend of Sept. 11.

Meanwhile, repairs will likely cost millions and a fundraising effort is already underway.

One of the first donations was from the Catholic Archdioscese of Washington, which gave $25,000.

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