Fire at the Motherhouse in Rome!


On Saturday, February 9, 1963, a significant fire broke out in the furnace room of the main building, and spread rapidly before detection.

Firemen from four fire trucks needed two hours to extinguish it; some wore gas masks and oxygen tanks to reach the boiler area. Immediately above the boiler room were the archives of the Institute and the room containing the relics of St. La Salle.

fire-damage-motherhouse-brothers-rome-1963Because an explosion was feared, the building was evacuated, but Brothers from the Second Novitiate were mobilized to remove the most precious documents and the relics to the Second Novitiate building. De La Salle’s soutane (cassock) and chasuble (Mass vestment) were damaged in the handling.

The leg of one Brother was seriously injured by a falling plate glass. The fire was caused by an overflow of fuel oil which went ablaze, and repairs will require at least ten days of work.

Newsbriefs of Baltimore, Februrary 1963, p. 3; New York Newsletter, March 1, 1963, pp. 1-2; and also Institute Bulletin, April 1963, pp. 103-104.