After Monday’s horrific fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, investigators stated they were working with the assumption that the blaze began “involuntarily,” thus ruling out arson as its cause.

French newspaper Le Monde reported the Paris prosecutor’s office had launched a probe into “involuntary destruction by fire,” which excludes any “a priori criminal motive.” The top spire of the cathedral collapsed on Monday amid the blaze, which reportedly started in the attic.

According to investigators, the blaze started just before 7 p.m. local time. Notre Dame had undergone renovations last summer: the cathedral’s roof — which had initially been constructed between the 12th and 14th centuries — had been removed.

Firefighters quickly rushed to put out as many of the flame as possible on Monday, as access to Notre Dame and the surrounding area was closed to the public.

“It will be a long, complex investigation, which will combine police work with technical elements and expertise,” an unnamed police official told Le Monde. The official added there were no deaths or serious injuries as a result of the fire.


Notre Dame is one of Paris’s prized landmarks. The 226-foot-high major tourist attraction is admired for its Gothic masonry and large wooden beams, among other things. French President Emmanuel Macron and Pope Francis were among hundreds of people to voice support for France in the wake of the fire.

“When a fire gets that well-involved it’s very difficult to put enough water on it to cool it to bring it under control,” said U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant.  

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