Volunteer Confesses to Starting Fire at Nantes Cathedral

PARIS — A Rwandan refugee who volunteered on the 15th-century cathedral in Nantes, France, has confessed to setting a hearth that severely broken the inside of the church this month, his lawyer stated on Sunday.

The Rwandan man, who’s 39 and whose title was not made public, was arrested on Sunday after the police stated that they had acquired unspecified new forensic proof. He had been questioned and launched earlier within the investigation.

“My consumer is relieved to have advised the reality,” the person’s lawyer, Quentin Chabert, stated throughout a information convention on Sunday. He added that his consumer “regretted his act” however didn’t give any motive.

The hearth broke out on the Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul within the early hours of July 18, and the French authorities shortly opened an arson investigation, saying that three beginning factors for the blaze had been discovered contained in the constructing and that there have been no indicators of a break-in. The volunteer was liable for locking up the church at evening.

Pierre Sennès, the prosecutor in Nantes, stated on Sunday that the volunteer had been charged with arson and that he confronted as much as 10 years in jail and a fantastic of 150,000 euros, about $175,000.

“We now have decided that the person was within the space of the cathedral the morning the fireplace broke,” Mr. Sennès stated, in accordance with the newspaper Ouest-France. “We observed, in two or three places the place the fireplace began, troubling components that would corroborate a legal act.” he added, noting that an “inflammable product” had been discovered within the constructing.

The hearth on the Nantes cathedral got here simply over a yr after a blaze engulfed Notre-Dame in Paris, bringing the Paris landmark to the breaking point and elevating questions concerning the safety dangers for historic church buildings throughout the nation.

Firefighters have been capable of convey the flames in Nantes beneath management inside hours, however the hearth destroyed a 17th-century organ. Additionally misplaced have been stained-glass home windows that contained remnants of 16th-century glass, and an 1835 portray by Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin depicting the primary bishop of Nantes.

The Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul in Nantes was constructed over 4 centuries and accomplished in 1891. It was beforehand broken by hearth in 1972, when a lot of its wood framework was destroyed. It was strengthened with concrete because the construction was rebuilt over the following 13 years.

The French authorities has stated it should make sure the restoration of the cathedral. Specialists say the work will take at the least three years.

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