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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Fires gut LSS ofices in N.Y., church in S.D.

February fires destroyed the fourth-floor offices of Lutheran Social Services of Metropolitan New York and razed a South Dakota church.

The New York fire broke out about 11 p.m. Feb. 18 at 27 Park Place, Manhattan, and spread to the floor above. This left the offices "open to the elements on all sides," said Russell Norris, LSS president and CEO, who arrived at the building about 4 a.m. to retrieve files and computer equipment.

Most of the foster care and adoption records were in steel cabinets that protected them from water and heat, Norris said. Smoke damage is severe throughout the building.

Temporary offices were set up at St. John Lutheran Church, Greenwich Village. One of the agency's foster care units was transferred to the church. Office space is being sought in Brooklyn for the foster care, adoption, kinship, AIDS, home-finding and group homes units.

The South Dakota fire broke out about noon Feb. 17 — Ash Wednesday — and razed Salem Emmanuel Lutheran, Long Lake, S.D., an 87-member congregation. At press time, officials had not determined the cause. The congregation is worshiping in a restaurant while its leaders weigh options for the church's future. The parish is a sister church with St. James Lutheran in neighboring Leola, S.D.


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