Investigators believe that an electrical short circuit may have caused the fire that all but destroyed the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris earlier this week. This would match up with original speculation that the fire was started accidentally, as opposed to being a result of terrorism or foul play.
However, a judicial source told CNN that officials “are not excluding any hypothesis at this stage,” indicating that the investigation is far from over.
“While the prosecutor’s office does not rule out any hypothesis, we remind that at this stage, nothing in the investigations highlights a criminal origin. Accidental causes remain our privileged lead,” the prosecutor’s office said.
At a ceremony at the Elysee Palace Thursday, President Emmanuel Macron thanked the firefighters who put their lives on the line to save the building from total ruin.
“We’ve seen before our eyes the right things perfectly organised in a few moments, with responsibility, courage, solidarity and a meticulous organization,” Macron said, according to Sky News.
“The worst has been avoided,” he added.
Earlier this week, Macron said he wanted the Gothic Cathedral to be “even more beautiful” after repairs were made — he estimated that the work could be done in five years, though experts predict it will take decades to complete.
“We’ll rebuild Notre-Dame even more beautiful and I want it to be completed in five years, we can do it,” said Macron, who has already launched a massive fundraising campaign for the project, garnering around a billion dollars in pledges.
Among those eager to get behind the effort is U.S. tech giant Apple.
“We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope,” Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote on Twitter April 16. “Relieved that everyone is safe. Apple will be donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dame’s precious heritage for future.”
Temporary wooden cathedral proposed
The rector of the Paris landmark, Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, has suggested that a temporary structure should be erected outside the famed church so that the faithful have somewhere to gather for worship.
“We mustn’t say ‘the cathedral is closed for five years and that’s it’,” he said, according to the BBC. “Can I not build an ephemeral cathedral on the esplanade [in front of Notre-Dame]?”
Monsignor Chauvet noted that the wooden structure, which would be located on the esplanade out front of the cathedral, must be “beautiful, symbolic and attractive.”