Fire Damages France's "Gothic Jewel" Cathedral in Nantes

Sunday, July 19, 2020

By Stefan J. Bos, Special Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) - Prosecutors in France say a fire that erupted in the Gothic cathedral of the western French city of Nantes started deliberately. Tourists and residents watched in horror Saturday as firefighters battled the blaze at the 15th-century St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral in the city's historical center.

In a statement on social media service Twitter, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that "After Notre-Dame, the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral, in the heart of Nantes, is in flames. " He added: "Support for our firefighters who take all risks to save this Gothic jewel of the city."

However, firefighters brushed aside comparisons with Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, whose lead roof and spire burned down in April 2019. But the fire brought back memories of the devastating Paris blaze that threatened to topple the medieval monument.

The fire in Nantes, on Loire River, came after the cathedral also suffered a severe fire in 1972. Nantes Mayor Johanna Rolland called the building part of France's “history” and “heritage.”

Saturday's blaze shattered stained glass windows and sent black smoke spewing from between its towers. Local firefighters said the roof was not affected by the fire, which broke out earlier on Saturday. They stressed the blaze was "under control."

Authorities began investigating Saturday, who allegedly tried to torch the architectural miracle and why. Recently appointed French Prime Minister Jean Castex and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin were due to visit the site late Saturday.