Source: New York Post
June 3, 2016
The fire that destroyed a 160-year-old Serbian church in Manhattan last month wasn’t sparked by angry Croatians, but by Easter candles left burning by a caretaker, officials said Thursday.
“Fire marshals have . . . determined that candles, which had not been completely extinguished, caused the fire,” FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon said.
Investigators were able to find evidence in the remains of the Serbian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava on West 25th Street that proved caretaker, Slobodan Ljubenko, 69, had accidentally caused the May 1 fire by failing to put out the candles, sources said.
No charges are expected.
Rumors had swirled around the congregation that the fire was set in retaliation for the Serbian-Orthodox role in blocking a Croatian religious leader’s canonization.