Published: Fri, April 19, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Electrical short circuit may have caused Notre Dame fire, French officials say

Electrical short circuit may have caused Notre Dame fire, French officials say

Investigators believe an electrical short circuit was the most likely cause of the Notre-Dame fire, it has been revealed.

For safety reasons, investigators are still unable to begin sifting through the rubble inside the building in Paris, the official said.

The fire tore through Notre Dame on Monday, burning the building's roof and causing its spire to collapse.

A preliminary investigation of the scene on Tuesday found no immediate signs of arson, the city's public prosecutor said.

Earlier in the afternoon, French President Emmanuel Macron held a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to thank the hundreds of firefighters who battled the fast-moving fire for nine hours starting Monday evening. Donations towards the church's reconstruction have flowed in from the private sector too. The cardinal underscored that France is economically "self-sufficient" and that the entrance fee to visit Notre Dame was intended "as a fund for eventual situations and restorations".

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The fire service have warned that the building remains fragile and extremely risky for people to work in.

The roof was destroyed, but Notre Dame's famous bell towers, rose windows, organ, and precious artworks were saved. "The worst has been avoided".

The ruler of the devout Roman-Catholic city-state went on to say that his thoughts were also with "the corps of firefighters for their determined and courageous action in the fight against the blaze that destroyed a medieval Gothic treasure and the architecture, paintings and sculptures that bear witness to 850 years of history".

Police have also closed off a large part of the island which the cathedral sits on, citing "important risks" of collapse and falling objects.

The chaplain of the Paris fire brigade credits saving the crown of thorns from fire that gutted Notre Dame to a team of rescuers who broke the relic's protective covering and an official who had the secret code to unlock the protection.

They also secured the support structure above one of Notre Dame's rose windows with wooden planks.

Among others honoured was Myriam Chudzinski, one of the first firefighters to reach the roof as the blaze raged.

"The country and the entire world were watching us and you were exemplary", Macron said in his speech at the ceremony. "It was spreading quickly".

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