St. Raphael Cathedral fire – March 14, 2005
A fire set by a mentally disturbed man, William Connell, destroyed St. Raphael Cathedral. Connell
was sentenced to 15 years in prison. Only the four stone walls of the cathedral and the spire
More than two years later, June, 2007, it was announced a new cathedral would be built on the St.
Raphael site to face S. Fairchild St. (instead of W. Main St.) Some elements of the old cathedral
have been saved for reuse, including the spire, which had been restored months before the fire.
Also saved are three bells from the steeple, three mosaics from the sanctuary, marble sanctuary
furnishings, a large stained glass window that was not damaged in the fire, three semi-circular
windows from above the front doors, ornamental stone work around the three front doorways, and
some of the stone from the cathedral.
William "Billy" Connell (41)