This building also housed the Institute of Religion for the Boston area and CES offices for most of New England. Luckily, the fire was doused before it reached the library of the Institute. The firemen, bless each of them, pulled out the books and transported them on gurneys outside. The good people of the Society of Friends (of the Quaker religion) offered the use of their building to house the books. Their building is directly across the way from our church. A long line of people from the congregation was quickly organized and the books, some of them wet and sooty but none burned, was passed from one person to the next across the park, street, and down into the Society of Friends basement. Along with several other librarians and book preservationists I spent the next few hours going through books and categorizing them into dry, sort of wet, and wow- really wet. There were even some paintings and prints from inside that were saved.
It was sad to see the beautiful and sentimental building go up in flames. However, as with any tragedy the Lord provides miracles - many miracles. The miracles have already started... no one was injured in the fire, the books - thousands of books , were saved, and people of various faiths from around Cambridge came together to lend support and comfort.
For photos of the fire see the following: