Paris authorities are ruling out terrorism in the Notre Dame fire, and they are treating the blaze that partially destroyed one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks as an accident.
However, they’re still investigating exactly what sparked the fire, which broke out on April 15, 2019. The term prosecutors in France are using to describe what happened to Notre Dame, at least thus far: “Involuntary destruction caused by fire,” The Associated Press reported.
The roof of the 850-year-old Parisian landmark was destroyed in the blaze; however, core parts of the building were saved, Agence France Presse reported. The fire turned the skyline orange.
The symbolism of Notre Dame can not be overstated. “If Paris is the Eiffel Tower then France is Notre Dame. It’s the entire culture, entire history of France incarnated in this monument,” Bernard Lecompte, a historian and writer told BFM TV.
Here’s what you need to know:
Authorities Have Ruled Out ‘Possible Terror-Related Motives’ & Are Investigating Whether the Fire Is Linked to Renovations
When one of France’s most famous landmarks – an iconic church associated with Christendom and with Easter approaching no less – burns in such spectacularly tragic fashion, people immediately want to know why.
According to The AP, word that the blaze is being treated as an “accident for now” came from the Paris prosecutors’ office in the hours after the fire broke out on April 15, 2019.
Although France has been hit by a string of terror attacks in recent years, some attributed to ISIS, authorities don’t think that’s the case with the Notre Dame fire. The prosecutors’ office told AP that it has “ruled out arson in Monday’s fire, including possible terror-related motives for starting the blaze,” the wire service reported.
The prosecutors’ office told CNN that it has opened an investigation into the massive fire, however.
According to AFP, the fire’s cause of “was not immediately confirmed.” Notre Dame was under restoration, and, the French news service reported, the fire service believes that “could be linked to the blaze.” It hasn’t been determined for certain, though. The Associated Press further reported that authorities in France were saying they think the fire might be linked to the renovations.
The Guardian also reported that police say the blaze “began accidentally and may be linked to building work at the cathedral.”
The French President Says France Will Rebuild the Famous Cathedral
In the wake of the blaze, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that Paris intends to rebuild the cathedral and will ask for the help of the international community to raise the money to do so. Although there was a great deal of damage – as captured in shocking photos of the cathedral on fire – Macron said that pieces of the cathedral remain – most notably its facade and “two main towers,” according to CNN.
“I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together,” the French president said, according to the cable news network. “This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders.”