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Reading, Pennsylvania Scottish Rite Cathedral Damaged By Fire

by Christopher Hodapp

West Reading fire officials are investigating a suspicious overnight blaze at the Scottish Rite Valley of Reading, Pennsylvania. The Scottish Rite Cathedral suffered extensive smoke damage from the fire that was confined to the lobby. It is currently being investigated as arson.

According to a story in the Reading Eagle by reporter Steven Henshaw, West Reading police and fire departments were dispatched at 1:20 a.m. Tuesday to the Cathedral at 430 S. Seventh Avenue when smoke was spotted pouring out of several windows. The fire was located in the west end of the lobby, and most of the furniture was ablaze when fire fighters arrived.

Thankfully, there were no injuries, but damage to the Cathedral is expected to be significant. According to WB Seth Anthony, the fire fortunately did not reach the offices or the Children's Dyslexia Center.

The Reading Scottish Rite's lobby before the fire
{Photo from their website)

The Scottish Rite Valley of Reading was established in 1906. Their current Cathedral was built in phases, beginning in 1983 and completed in 1988. The auditorium seats 1,300, and it is an important venue in the community for theatrical presentations, music, seminars, and community events like high school graduations.

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call West Reading police at 610-373-0111 and talk to Criminal Investigator Karie Good.

Photos: Bill Uhrich for the Reading Eagle
H/T to WB Seth Anthony - alas, this is his home Valley.

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Premium Member
Looks like another hate crime. If we were some sort of ethnic or religious minority, these stories would be spun in a different way, but hate crime they often are...