Volunteer Confesses To Setting 15th Century French Cathedral On Fire: Hearth erupted on July 18 inside a gothic cathedral within the western French metropolis of Nantes. (File)

Volunteer Confesses To Setting 15th Century French Cathedral On Fire


A volunteer church assistant has confessed to setting the hearth that severely broken a Gothic cathedral in the western French metropolis of Nantes, his lawyer mentioned Sunday, although his motives stay a thriller.

The 39-year-old, an asylum-seeker from Rwanda who has lived in France for a number of years, was arrested Saturday after laboratory evaluation decided that arson was the seemingly reason for the blaze, the native prosecutor’s workplace mentioned.

“My consumer is cooperating,” lawyer Quentin Chabert mentioned at a press convention in Nantes, with out venturing on what prompted the try to burn down the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.

“Clearly it was a reduction for him to point out, as he would say, his repentance. As a believer, it is essential for him to point out this effort,” he mentioned.

Prosecutors opened an arson inquiry into the early morning hearth on July 18 after discovering that it broke out in three completely different locations within the church, which the volunteer had locked up the evening earlier than.

He was taken in for questioning the following day however later launched with out cost, with the cathedral’s rector saying “I belief him like I belief all of the helpers.”

However Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes mentioned in an announcement Saturday that he had been arrested and charged with “destruction and harm by hearth,” and faces as much as 10 years in jail and 150,000 euros ($175,000) in fines.

“He admitted throughout his first look for questioning earlier than the investigating decide that he set three fires within the cathedral: on the major organ, the smaller organ, and {the electrical} panel,” Sennes advised the Presse-Ocean newspaper on Sunday.

“Stone by stone”

The blaze got here 15 months after the devastating hearth on the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which raised questions in regards to the safety dangers for different historic church buildings throughout France.

Whereas firefighters had been in a position to include the Nantes blaze after simply two hours and save the primary construction, its famed organ, which dated from 1621 and had survived the French revolution and World Conflict II bombardment, was destroyed.

Additionally misplaced had been priceless artefacts and work, together with a piece by the 19th-century artist Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin and stained glass home windows that contained remnants of 16th-century glass.

Work on the cathedral started in 1434 and continued over the next centuries till 1891.

It had already been broken by a extra critical hearth in 1972, when officers added concrete reinforcements whereas redoing the roof over the following 13 years.

The French authorities has mentioned it’s going to make sure the cathedral’s restoration, although only a few, if any, components of the primary organ are prone to be saved, mentioned Philippe Charron, head of the regional DRAC state heritage company.

“It would take a number of weeks to safe the positioning… and several other months of inspections that will probably be carried out stone by stone,” he mentioned.

Reconstruction will take a number of years, he mentioned.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is printed from a syndicated feed.)



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