African Migrant Detained After Suspected Arson Attack Engulfs Nantes Cathedral
Fire comes just over a year after Notre-Dame cathedral was set ablaze,
A migrant from Rwanda has been detained after a blaze torched the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul in Nantes, France, which is now being treated as an arson attack.
Authorities believe the Nantes Cathedral was set ablaze deliberately, as ongoing investigations suggest the fires where set internally.
The three fires were set at “one at the level of the great organ, and two fire starts to the left and to the right of the nave.”
The cathedral's grand organ, historic stained glass windows, and other fixtures were lost to the inferno.
The cathedral fire comes just over a year after the Notre-Dame cathedral was set ablaze, causing catastrophic damage.
At the time, Notre-Dame was undergoing a $6.8 million renovation project, with many parts covered by scaffolding.
A 39-year-old migrant has now been detained following the fire, French reports say.
The migrant is believed to have worked for the diocese and was angry about having his visa expiring.
But prosecutors warned it would be “premature and hasty” to lay blame on the migrant for the blaze.
The migrant was taken into custody due to 'inconsistencies' in his timetable.
However, Nantes public prosecutor Pierre Sennès emphasized that this is “normal procedure,” and authorities are not assuming he started the blaze.
Cathedral clerk, Jean-Charles Nowak, defended the unnamed migrant, saying he “adores” the building.
“I don’t believe for a second that he could have set the cathedral on fire,” Nowak said.
The cathedral began construction in 1434 and took hundreds of years to complete, with the finishing touches completed only in 1891.
The investigation is ongoing.