The Latest: Arson ruled out in Notre Dame fire for now

The Latest on a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):

11:15 p.m.

The Paris prosecutors’ office says investigators are treating the blaze that destroyed part of Notre Dame as an accident for now.

The prosecutors’ office said late Monday they have ruled out arson in Monday’s fire, including possible terror-related motives for starting the blaze.

Prosecutors say Paris police will conduct an investigation into “involuntary destruction caused by fire.”

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11:05 p.m.

A French official and the Paris fire chief say they think Notre Dame Cathedral’s landmark rectangular towers have been saved from the fire that caused horrific damage.

Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said late Monday that authorities remain “prudent” but are “much more optimistic” than earlier in the night.

Paris fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet said a major accomplishment of hundreds of firefighters was stopping the flames from spreading to the north tower belfry.

Gallet says two-thirds of Notre Dame’s roofing “has been ravaged.” He says one firefighter was injured.

He says fire crews will keep working overnight to cool down the structure.

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10:50 p.m.

The mayor of Paris says people who live near Notre Dame Cathedral have been evacuated in preparation for the burning structure’s possible collapse.

But Mayor Anne Hidalgo said late Monday that firefighters were optimistic they could keep the towers that bookend the famous cathedral from going up in flames.

The fire chief in Paris went even further, saying his crews managed to stop the flames from reaching the belfry and prevented a catastrophic collapse.

Gallet says one firefighter was injured.

Hildago says the significant collection art work and holy objects kept inside the church has been recovered.

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Firefighters battled a massive blaze Monday at the French capital’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral that sent ash pouring onto tourists and flames shooting out of the world-famous 12th century monument.

It is unclear whether anyone has been hurt. French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saving the fire is “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead.

Flames are shooting out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world.

Sights of the flames stopped passers-by in their tracks along the Seine River that passes beneath the cathedral.

French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze. Macron’s pre-recorded speech was set to be aired Monday evening, to lay out his long-awaited answers to the yellow vest crisis that has rocked the country since last November.

Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the center of Paris.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the “terrible fire.” Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.

Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with Paris diocese.

Author: Associated Press / WINK News
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