People across the globe couldn’t believe what they were watching as one of the most iconic and stunning buildings in France was set ablaze by a fire believed to be linked to a major renovation project on the church’s spire.
Countless images and videos showed the fire ripping through the 850-year-old building, setting alight its medieval roof which is known as “the forest” because it was made from a forest of trees.
Ever since the fire broke out, people have been speculating about what may have caused it, but now investigators believe that an electrical short circuit may be behind it.
An official told the Associated Press that they still do not believe anything criminal caused the fire, and that at this stage, they are investigating whether an electrical short-circuit could be behind the blaze.
Speaking anonymously, the official said that the investigators do not have permission to work within the cathedral to search in the rubble for safety reasons.
Investigators have been questioning cathedral staff, though, as well as workers who were carrying out renovations. About 40 people had been questioned by Thursday, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.
Drone imagery has already indicated that the fire broke out at the centre of the roof near the base of the spire, but the exact location has not been established.
The police official would not comment on an unsourced report in Le Parisien newspaper that investigators were looking at whether the fire could have been linked to a computer glitch or the temporary elevators used in the renovation work, among other possibilities. The prosecutor’s office said only that “all leads must be explored”.
This comes after French President Emmanuel Macron insisted the 850-year-old landmark will be rebuilt, saying the ‘worst has been avoided’. He said:
“We’ll rebuild this cathedral all together and it’s undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we’ll have for the coming years.
“That’s what the French expect [and] because it’s what our history deserves.”
Furthermore, significant funds have already been raised to restore the building – over 1 billion euros according to some reports – led by François-Henri Pinault who has pledged €100 million to restore the cathedral as well as France’s richest man and head of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, Bernard Arnault, pledging €200m.
Images via Getty