NANTES (dpa-AFX) – Two days after the devastating fire in Nantes Cathedral, France’s economy and finance minister has promised support for the renovation of the church. The state will undertake the restoration, said Bruno Le Maire on Monday on the BFMTV television station. It was an obligation for the state – not only because it owned the church, it was also about culture, Le Maire said.
During the fire in the western French city on Saturday, the main organ was completely destroyed, windows and other furnishings in the church were damaged by the flames. Investigators are currently following the theory that the fire was started on purpose. Accordingly, there were three sources of fire in the cathedral. During the first investigations, no signs of break-in were found on the building. According to media reports, experts were also on site on Monday to secure traces.
A man was released from police custody late Sunday evening after a suspicion against him was not confirmed. There is no further prosecution against the 39-year-old, Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennès told local press Presse Océan. The man had been responsible for closing the cathedral on Friday evening.
Several employees of the diocese also did not rule out an accident as the cause of the fire. The church priest Jean-Charles Nowak told the television station BFMTV that there were miles of cable in the church. In his opinion, an electrical short circuit is also possible. That was also his first thought, the minister Jean-Yves Magnier told the AFP news agency. There have been repeated problems with the electrical system, says Magnier. Not every week, but recurring, he explained.
The fire had brought back memories of the inferno in Paris’ Notre-Dame cathedral in France more than a year ago. Even if the damage in Nantes was far less, as the emergency services emphasized. He had lived in Nantes for six months and knew the cathedral, said Le Maire. To see the organ crumble to ashes fills him with great sadness. French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on a visit on Saturday that the church needed to be restored as soon as possible.
The 15th century cathedral of Nantes is dedicated to the apostles Peter and Paul and belongs to the late Gothic style. In a devastating fire in 1972 the roof structure of the church was completely destroyed. The main organ remained almost intact during the fire. In 2015, a spectacular fire in Nantes destroyed the roof of the Saint-Donatien basilica / ari / DP / nas