The suspected cause of the fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral has been announced by police.
It had previously been believed that the blaze was a result of ongoing renovation work. However, investigators have since confirmed that nobody had been on site at the time the fire broke out.
According to firefighters, the Notre Dame came within just 15 to 30 minutes of being completely destroyed, taking with it centuries worth of cultural and religious artifacts.
As per the Associated Press, a French judicial police official has explained how investigators believe an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral.
The official, who has spoken anonymously regarding the ongoing investigation, stated how – due to safety reasons – investigators still have not been permitted to work within the cathedral and search around in the rubble.
The anonymous official informed the Associated Press the cathedral is still being consolidated with wooden planks so as to support some of the more fragile parts of the historic walls.
#FDNY Probationary Firefighters carry American and French flags in their final Spirit Run before graduation as a show of solidarity and support for @PompiersParis, who deployed 400 Firefighters to bravely battle the fire at Notre Dame earlier this week pic.twitter.com/9nJCEyIpxg
— FDNY (@FDNY) April 17, 2019
During a televised address to the nation, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to bring Notre Dame back to its former glory within five years.
As per Reuters, Macron said:
We will rebuild Notre Dame even more beautifully and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it. It is up to us to change this disaster into an opportunity to come together, having deeply reflected on what we have been and what we have to be and become better than we are.
It is up to us to find the thread of our national project.
French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault’s family and his luxury goods group, LVMH, and Francois Henri Pinault – head of the Kering luxury goods company – pledged €200 million and €100 million respectively. Donations have since surpassed €1 billion.
— cass (@drugoflilo) April 18, 2019
Approximately 500 firefighters participated in the nine-hour operation to save the 850-year-old Notre Dame on the evening of April 15.
Much to the horror of onlookers, the spire collapsed and the roof was severely damaged. However, the iconic towers, rose windows, organ and precious artworks all remain intact.
Notre Dame Cathedral has stood since 1260, having been modified in the centuries since. It’s provided inspiration for writers such as Victor Hugo and is one of the most culturally significant and instantly recognisable buildings in the world.
Our thoughts are with the people of Paris as they look towards rebuilding this majestic cathedral.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.