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Fire damages French cathedral, arson probe launched

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A fire broke out in three places at the gothic cathedral of Nantes in western France Saturday, destroying stained glass windows and the grand organ …
A fire broke out in three places at the gothic cathedral of Nantes in western France Saturday, destroying stained glass windows and the grand organ and sparking an arson investigation.
Catholic officials mourned the loss of priceless artefacts and paintings as well as the 17th century organ — a star attraction of the cathedral.
Regional fire chief Laurent Ferlay however said the damage was not comparable to last year’s devastating blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.
Passers-by saw flames behind the rosette of the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul and alerted emergency services a little before 08:00 am (0600 GMT).
Roughly 100 firefighters rushed to the scene and managed to save the structure, built between the 15th and 19th centuries, Ferlay said.
Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes said the fire had started in three different places, so a judicial investigation for arson was immediately opened.
“When we arrive at a place where a fire has taken place, when you see three separate fire outbreaks, it’s a question of common sense, you open an investigation,” Sennes told AFP.
The prosecutor said investigators had found no sign of a break-in, but noted that one fire has started near the organ, while the other two were at the other end of the cathedral.

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