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Police in Paris believe short-circuit was to blame for Notre Dame blaze

A police official said investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral on Wednesday.

Image: AP/PA Images

POLICE IN PARIS believe a short-circuit electrical fault was the likely cause of the fire at Notre Dame cathedral on Monday. 

A police official said investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral on  Wednesday but did not have a green light to search the building’s interior because of ongoing safety hazards.

Earlier this afternoon, French President Emmanuel Macron held a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to thank the hundreds of firefighters who battled the blaze for nine hours.

Authorities 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 the belfry tower.

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

Macron said the firefighters will receive a medal of honour for their courage and bravery.

As the ceremony took place, investigators continued investigating the cause of 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 are questioning both cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations. Some 40 people had been questioned by Thursday, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Yesterday, architects from around the world were invited to submit designs for rebuilding the spire of Notre-Dame cathedral. 

The goal is “to give Notre-Dame a new spire that is adapted to the techniques and the challenges of our era,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told reporters.

Fire officials warned that 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.

Workers using a crane removed statues to lessen the weight on the cathedral’s gables, or support walls, and  keep them from falling.

Parts of the Seine river, on which the cathedral sits have also been officially closed off to locals and tourists. 

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Associated Press

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