Investigators Reveal Likely Cause of Notre Dame Fire

Posted: Apr 19, 2019 3:00 PM
Investigators Reveal Likely Cause of Notre Dame Fire

Source: AP Photo/Francois Mori

Parisiens are still in shock over the inferno that swept through the top of the beloved Notre Dame cathedral on Monday night. The 856-year-old structure is much more than a tourist attraction - it's a place of worship for Catholics all over the world. That's why the world watched in horror as the flames quickly destroyed the church's iconic spire, before eating through the entire roof. Thankfully, the main structure, the two bell towers, and the inside of the cathedral are intact, while most of the priceless artwork was saved. 

The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, but on Thursday police suggested that an electrical short circuit was the most likely source. Then on Friday the cathedral's rector Patrick Chauvet said it could have been a computer glitch. Investigators still don't have the green light to search through the cathedral because of safety concerns, but they continue to interview representatives of the companies who were hired to renovate the cathedral.

French officials aren't waiting for the answers before making their next moves. In one of his somber speeches this week, President Emmanuel Macron said his goal was to rebuild Notre Dame within five years, predicting it will be "even more beautiful." 

French Prime Minster Edouard Philippe then announced a contest to replace the cathedral's spire to gauge whether the world wants tradition, in keeping Eugene Viollet-le-Duc's original design, or modern innovation.

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“The international competition will allow us to ask the question of whether we should even recreate the spire as it was conceived by Viollet-le-Duc,” Philippe said. “Or if, as is often the case in the evolution of heritage, we should endow Notre Dame with a new spire.”

Traditionalists, however, are hoping the architects don't get too creative. They want their old cathedral back.

Almost $1 billion has been donated to the reconstruction.