A quick thinking priest, Karen Lind Ólafsdóttir, saved the father of a bride from burning alive yesterday at the church in Þingvellir.
She was officiating a wedding of a French woman and a German man at a church decorated with dried flowers and lit candles. “Everything was going well, and they were about to say their vows to each other at a very emotional moment, when I suddenly noticed a smell. I looked around and saw nothing. All the candles seemed fine,” Karen told reporters.
After the bride and groom exchanged their vows, Karen looked up and saw a gleam in a window at the back of the church. “I thought it was weird, because there was no sun outside. By some coincidence, I decided to run to the window, and when I got there, I saw the man’s jacket on fire. He was holding a video recorder, and had apparently been on fire for a little while. The fire had come up on his back and to his neck,” Karen said.
With no water nearby, she had to think quickly, especially since he was trying to take his jacket off. The church is made of timber, and those dried flowers would burn like kindling. “Fortunately, I had received a leather folder when I was ordained. I took the folder and hit the man as much as I could. The fire went out, and it was quite stinky. My folder is probably useless. The leather is completely burnt,” she said.
In a magnificent stroke of luck, the father of the bride was wearing a cardigan inside the jacket, which seems to have insulated him against the worst of the flames. “If he hadn’t had his cardigan on, he probably would have been burned and we would have had to call a helicopter,” Karen said. “Only the jacket caught fire.”
After the incident, Karen blew out the candles and continued the ceremony. She is taking a light approach to the situation, saying, “Fortunately, this is a story we can learn from, and it’s a little funny.”
On the other hand, the bride and groom, their family and other guests were all considerably shaken by the experience. After the ceremony, as there was time to let the shock of the incident set in, the man thanked the priest for saving his life.
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