The French police found seven cigarette butts in the scaffolding of restoration where the fire that devastated part of the roof of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, reveals this Wednesday the weekly “Le Canard Enchaîné”. Some of the workers who worked on the restoration of the temple’s needle recognized the investigators who, in breach of safety instructions, smoked in the scaffolding, the publication adds.

Despite this, the investigators bet more on the hypothesis that the fire was due to a short circuit, according to “Le Canard”. In that sense, they reveal several irregularities with the electrical installation, specifically, in the laying to feed a set of bells that was in the needle and another under it, and that ran through the wooden beams of the cathedral. This device was provisionally authorised in 2012 at the request of the clergy of Notre Dame during the renovation of the main bell towers, with the aim of electrifying these bells so that they could be replaced. However, according to “Le Canard”, it was never replaced, it was still in use and the scaffolding for the restoration of the needle was installed on it.

Researchers have determined that the bells rang on the day of the fire at 6.04 p.m. (16.04 GMT). Twelve minutes later, the first smoke detection alert was lit at the cathedral security post and five minutes later the first fire alarm sounded. At that moment the evacuation began, but as the two security officers sent to verify the flames did not find them, it was thought to be a false alert and everybody was asked to stay. According to “Le Canard,” the officers were sent to the wrong place to look for the fire, information denied by the private security company that manages the monument.

Around 18.30 (16.30 GMT) the alarms went off again and, at that moment, the people in the church was evacuated and, between ten and twenty minutes later, the agents located the fire at the base of the needle. At 18.51 (16.51 GMT) the two security officers alerted the firefighters who arrived in about ten minutes, but found water hydrants insufficiently powerful to stop a fire that had already taken on significant dimensions.

The fire-fighting installation, according to the weekly newspaper, was designed to put out a fire at the beginning, but due to the delays recorded in its location, had already grown too much. Only with the arrival of reinforcements, equipped with more powerful hoses, could they begin to fight the flames, although it was too late to save the deck of Notre Dame.


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