- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Officials at the Washington National Cathedral say damage suffered in Tuesday’s earthquake are estimated in the millions of dollars and insurance won’t cover the costs.

Three of four spires atop the building’s central tower were broken off during the 5.8-magnitude quake, which was centered near Mineral, Va., but felt around much of the eastern United States.

Samuel T. Lloyd III, dean of the cathedral, on Wednesday said the damage was “quite serious … but certainly could have been much worse.”

“There’s nothing in the budget that will cover this,” he said, adding that the cathedral would have to “turn to people across the country” to fund repairs.

The temblor also damaged several of the cathedral’s decorative elements and caused cracks on interior upper floors and in the flying buttresses around the apse at its east end., but officials said the building was structurally sound.

The cathedral is currently closed, and a Saturday service commemorating the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial has been moved to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Officials “hope” to have Sunday services and have not cancelled a service planned for the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11.

Joe Alonso, who has been a stonemason at the cathedral for 26 years, said the repairs would be a monumental undertaking and that the situation was “still surreal” to him but that he and his team were prepared for the job.

“My colleagues and I know this building like the back of our hands,” he said.

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