Wednesday May 22, 2019
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Short-Circuit Likely The Cause of Notre Dame Fire, Claims Police Investigators

"It's a chance for France to bounce back, a chance to realize what unites us, because we have been too much divided over the past years,''

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firefighters who saved Notre Dame Cathedral
Members of Paris Firefighters' brigade enter the security perimeter to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, April 18, 2019. France paid a daylong tribute Thursday to the Paris firefighters who saved Notre Dame Cathedral from collapse. VOA

Paris police investigators think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, a police official said Thursday, as France paid a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the world-renowned landmark.

A judicial police official told The Associated Press that investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral Wednesday but don’t have a green light to search Notre Dame’s charred interior because of ongoing safety hazards.

The cathedral’s fragile walls were being shored up with wooden planks, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak by name about an ongoing investigation.

Investigators believe the fire was accidental, and are questioning both cathedral staff and workers who were carrying out renovations. Some 40 people had been questioned by Thursday, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, third left, and other officials listen to cello player Armance Quero during a ceremony in front of the Paris city hall, April 18, 2019.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, third left, and other officials listen to cello player Armance Quero during a ceremony in front of the Paris city hall, April 18, 2019. VOA

The police official would not comment on an unsourced report in Le Parisian newspaper that investigators are looking at whether the fire could have been linked to a computer glitch or the temporary elevators used in the renovation work, among other things. The prosecutor’s office said only that “all leads must be explored.”

Temporary structure proposed

Since the cathedral will be closed to the public for years, the rector of the Catholic parish that worships there has proposed building a temporary structure on the plaza in front of the Gothic-era landmark, and City Hall gave its approval Thursday “subject to technical restraints.”

“The rector has no cathedral for the moment. … But I’m going to try to invent something,” Bishop Patrick Chauvet said.

A crypt containing vestiges dating from antiquity is located under the vast esplanade.

President Emmanuel Macron has said he wants Notre Dame to be restored in five years, in time for the 2024 Summer Olympics, which Paris is hosting. Restoration specialists have questioned the ambitious timeline, with some saying it could take three times that long to rebuild the 850-year-old architectural treasure.

Honoring the firefighters

Earlier Thursday, Macron held a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to thank the hundreds of firefighters who battled the fast-moving fire at Notre Dame for nine hours starting Monday evening, preventing the structure’s destruction and rescuing many of the important relics held inside.

Emergency service personnel walk at the Elysee Palace in Paris after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, April 18, 2019.
Emergency service personnel walk at the Elysee Palace in Paris after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, April 18, 2019. VOA

“We’ve seen before our eyes the right things perfectly organized in a few moments, with responsibility, courage, solidarity and a meticulous organization,” Macron said. “The worst has been avoided.”

The cathedral’s lead roof and its soaring spire were destroyed, but Notre Dame’s iconic bell towers, rose windows, organ and precious artworks were saved.

Macron said the firefighters will receive an Honor Medal for their courage and devotion.

Paris City Hall also held a ceremony in the firefighters’ honor Thursday afternoon, with a Bach violin concert, two giant banners strung from the monumental city headquarters and readings from Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

Remarkably, no one was killed in the blaze that broke out as the cathedral was in the initial stages of a lengthy restoration.

Securing area, cathedral

A large swath of the island in the Seine River where Notre Dame is located was officially closed Thursday by police, who cited “important risks” of collapse and falling objects. The area had been unofficially blocked off since the fire.

A crane hoists scaffolding past gargoyles outside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, April 18, 2019.
A crane hoists scaffolding past gargoyles outside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, April 18, 2019. VOA

Meanwhile, workers using a crane removed some statues to lessen the weight on the cathedral’s fragile gables, or support walls, to keep them from collapsing since they were no longer supported by the roof and its network of centuries-old timbers that were consumed by the inferno.

They also secured the support structure above one of Notre Dame’s rose windows with wooden planks.

Saving history

Among the firefighters honored Thursday was Paris fire brigade chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier, who told the Le Parisian daily he was able to save the cathedral’s consecrated hosts. The paper said he climbed on altars to remove large paintings, but that he was especially proud “to have removed Jesus” from the Cathedral — a reference to the Catholic belief that consecrated hosts are the body of Christ.

An earlier report credited Fournier with helping salvage the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, but Fournier told France Info Thursday he arrived after rescuers had already broken the relic’s protective covering and an official who had the secret code needed to unlock it finished the job. He praised the action that preserved “this extraordinary relic, this patrimony of humanity.”

Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department, Jean-Marc Fournier, center, waits at the Elysee Palace in Paris prior to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, April 18, 2019.
Chaplain of the Paris Fire Department, Jean-Marc Fournier, center, waits at the Elysee Palace in Paris prior to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, April 18, 2019. VOA

Among others honored was Myriam Chudzinski, one of the first firefighters to reach the roof as the blaze raged. Loaded with gear, they climbed hundreds of steps up the cathedral’s narrow spiral staircase to the top of one of the two towers.

“We knew that the roof was burning, but we didn’t really know the intensity,” she told reporters. “It was from upstairs that you understood that it was really dramatic. It was very hot and we had to retreat, retreat. It was spreading quickly.”

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Benedicte Contamin, who came to view the damaged cathedral from afar Thursday, said she’s sad but grateful it’s still there.

“It’s a chance for France to bounce back, a chance to realize what unites us, because we have been too much divided over the past years,” she said. (VOA)

 

Next Story

Explore the Most Visited Cities of Romania

There are even reports of human and extraterrestrial meetings in the Hoia-Baciu forest. Others have also claimed the presence of a monster in the nearby Lake Tarnita.

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Romania
The official language of the country is Romanian while Albanian and Armenian are some of the recognized regional languages.

Romania is a sovereign country in southeastern Europe that is experiencing an increasing trend in tourism. Bucharest is the capital and largest city in the country with the greatest number of visitors annually. The official language of the country is Romanian while Albanian and Armenian are some of the recognized regional languages.

The Romans are the predominant ethnic group and make up 88.9% of the total population. By 2011, the country was very urbanized with 54% of the population living in urban areas, but most moved to the countryside. In this article, we will discuss some of the major cities in Romania that you can visit while exploring this historic place.

Bucharest

Bucharest
At present, the city has an estimated population of 1.8 million inhabitants. The quality of life in Bucharest is not appealing.

Bucharest is the largest city in Romania and is the country’s capital, culture, industry and financial center. The city has increasingly become popular among international visitors for low prices and amazing Bucharest bachelor weekend parties. Some of the old buildings in the city center were severely damaged by war, earthquakes and Nicolae Ceausescu’s systemization program. It has been an economic and industrial boom in the city in the past.

At present, the city has an estimated population of 1.8 million inhabitants. The quality of life in Bucharest is not appealing. Living conditions have deteriorated over time and ranked 108th in 2009 in 235 cities. Notable landmarks in the city include; Triumphal arch, carousel bookstore, and Ion Luca Carnegie charter.

Constanta

tourism
The most important economic activities are tourism, industrialization, and fishing. In the first half of 2008, 3,144 companies were established in the city.

Constanta is the oldest city inhabited in the country after being formed in 600 BC. It has a population of 283,872 people making it the fifth largest city in the country by population. Constanta is a coastal city and receives a large number of tourists annually. In the 1930s during the inter-war, the city was the country’s commercial hub.

Like many coastal cities, Constanta is experiencing one of the warmest temperatures in the country. The most important economic activities are tourism, industrialization, and fishing. In the first half of 2008, 3,144 companies were established in the city. The most notable landmarks in the city are; the genuine lighthouse, the Carol 1 mosque, the house with lions, the cathedral of saints and the ottoman hunting mosque.

Cluj-Napoca

Cluj
The state’s Matthias Corvinus and Central Park fountain are some of the city’s attractions. There are a large number of visitors in the city with a majority of those coming on a day visit.

Ranking third among the largest cities in Romania, called Cluj-Napoca commonly known as Cluj. It was founded in 1213 and is the second most popular city in the country. The city is surrounded by forests and grasslands with rare species such as a Venus slipper. There are animals such as bears, mammals, foxes, rabbits, and squirrels in the Faget and Hoia nearby forests.

There are even reports of human and extraterrestrial meetings in the Hoia-Baciu forest. Others have also claimed the presence of a monster in the nearby Lake Tarnita. There are many large castles in the surrounding countryside surrounded by medieval families living in the city. The state’s Matthias Corvinus and Central Park fountain are some of the city’s attractions. There are a large number of visitors in the city with a majority of those coming on a day visit.

Iași

Romania
The fourth largest city in Romania is home to some of the oldest churches and monasteries dating back more than five hundred years ago.

This city is one of the cultural capitals of Romania and is a symbol of Romanian history. It is home to the country’s oldest university and the first technical school. It is an important education and research center in Romania and holds more than 60,000 students in five public universities.

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The fourth largest city in Romania is home to some of the oldest churches and monasteries dating back more than five hundred years ago. Significant buildings in the city include; Central Hall Square, Cuza Place, Dosoftei House, and Razvan Palace.