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(Howard Benedict/Stars and Stripes)
(Howard Benedict/Stars and Stripes)
(Howard Benedict/Stars and Stripes)
(Howard Benedict/Stars and Stripes)
Firefighters try to control the blaze at Yongsan's main post chapel.
Firefighters try to control the blaze at Yongsan's main post chapel. (Howard Benedict/Stars and Stripes)
Deputy 8th Army Chaplain Col. Alphonse Fiedorczyk, left, and 8th Army Chaplain Col. David Reardon examine the charred remnants of the main post chapel's pulpit.
Deputy 8th Army Chaplain Col. Alphonse Fiedorczyk, left, and 8th Army Chaplain Col. David Reardon examine the charred remnants of the main post chapel's pulpit. (Howard Benedict/Stars and Stripes)

SEOUL — Faulty wiring may have caused the Christmas Eve fire which destroyed the main post chapel on Yongsan Compound, 8th Army officials said Wednesday.

The chapel was listed as a total loss by post engineers. It was valued at $6;722.50 and its contents at $20,172.33.

"It's almost impossible to determine the exact cause, but our investigating board of three officers ... indicated they believe it was a faulty wall-socket on the left side of the altar," an engineer said.

It was reported at 9:07 p.m. Firemen arrived three minutes later and the blaze was under control at 9:30 after 40,000 gallons of water was poured on it.

Two pump trucks and three tankers from the Yongsan Fire Station, plus two pumpers and five tankers from local departments were called in to fight the blaze.

Plans have been proposed for a new chapel, but the site and details are not yet final.

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