Electrical fault ‘likely’ cause of fire disaster at Notre-Dame

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Electrical fault ‘likely’ cause of fire disaster at Notre-Dame


The work begins: A stonemason inspects the walls of Notre-Dame. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena
The work begins: A stonemason inspects the walls of Notre-Dame. Photo: AP Photo/Christophe Ena

An electrical short-circuit most likely caused the devastating blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral, a police official has revealed.

France yesterday paid a day long tribute to the firefighters who tried to save the the world-renowned landmark.

A French judicial police official said investigators have made an initial assessment of the cathedral but don’t have a green light to search Notre-Dame’s charred interior because of ongoing safety concerns.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the cathedral’s fragile walls were being shored up with wooden planks.

Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron held a ceremony at the Élysée Palace to thank the hundreds of firefighters who battled the fast-moving for nine hours on Monday night. Authorities have said Notre-Dame, which dates from the 12th century, was in danger of going up in flames before fire crews stopped it from spreading into a tower belfry.

Fire responders also rescued many of the important relics and works of art inside the cathedral.

“We’ve seen before our eyes the right things perfectly organised in a few moments, with responsibility, courage, solidarity and a meticulous organisation”, Mr Macron said. “The worst has been avoided.”

He said the firefighters will receive a medal for their courage and devotion.

As the ceremony took place, investigators continued seeking clues to what sparked the fire. The huge cathedral, including the spire that was consumed by flames and collapsed, was in the initial stages of a lengthy restoration.

Investigators so far believe the fire was accidental, and had questioned 40 cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Fire officials warned the building remains unstable and extremely dangerous, including for the construction workers who rushed to secure an area above one of the rose-shaped windows and other vulnerable sections of the fire-damaged structure.

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Workers using a crane were removing some statues to lessen the weight on the cathedral’s fragile gables, or support walls, and to keep them from falling, since the section lacked the support of the massive timber roof that burned up in the devastating blaze.

Police, citing “important risks” of collapse and falling objects, officially closed a large swath of the island in the River Seine on which Notre-Dame sits.

Irish Independent

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