WATCH – NOTRE-DAME FIRE: Officials ‘rule out arson or terror-related motives’

NOTRE-DAME INFERNO: A fire official said the Notre Dame's structure and two towers had been saved from total destruction. Photo credit: Twitter

AUTHORITIES believe that the massive fire that destroyed much of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris last night (Monday) was started accidentally.

The 12th-century building was clad in scaffolding and was undergoing major restoration work at the time the blaze broke out at around 6 pm yesterday (Monday).

The French President Emmanuel Macron declared a national emergency as the building burned and the spire toppled.

He said: “Notre-Dame is aflame. Great emotion for the whole nation. Our thoughts go out to all Catholics and to the French people. Like all of my fellow citizens, I am sad to see this part of us burn tonight.”

Around 400 firefighters were drafted in to tackle the fast-moving flames as one was reported seriously injured in the inferno.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.”

Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez tweeted: “The fire of Notre Dame is a catastrophe for France. And it is for Spain and for Europe. The flames devastate 850 years of history, of architecture, of painting, of sculpture. It’ll be hard to forget. France can count on us to regain the grandeur of its heritage.”

Referring to a Tweet by US President Donald Trump officials explained: “Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircraft which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.”

The precise cause of the fire is not yet known and prosecutors have opened an investigation with local media saying they have ruled out arson and terror-related motives and think the blaze was started accidentally.

A fire official confirmed the Notre-Dame’s structure and two towers had been saved from total destruction.

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