An electrical short circuit was the most likely cause of the Notre Dame fire, a police official revealed this evening.

The French judicial police official, who was speaking anonymously, told the Associated Press that investigators think the short circuit started Monday's devastating blaze.

The huge cathedral, including the spire that was consumed by flames and collapsed, had been in the initial stages of a lengthy restoration.

The official added investigators still don't have the green light to work in the cathedral and search the rubble for safety reasons.

He said the world-famous monument is still being consolidated with wooden planks to support some fragile parts of the walls.

The probe was taking place as France paid a day-long tribute to the Paris firefighters who saved the cathedral from collapse and rescued its treasures.

President Emmanuel Macron held a ceremony at the Elysee Palace to thank the firefighters after they battled the fast-moving fire for nine hours.

He said: "We've seen before our eyes the right things perfectly organised in a few moments, with responsibility, courage, solidarity and a meticulous organisation.

"The worst has been avoided."

Mr Macron added the firefighters will receive a medal for their courage and devotion.

Inside Notre Dame: Images reveal damage after devastating fire

The roof was destroyed, but Notre Dame's famous bell towers, rose windows, organ, and precious artworks were saved.

Fire officials warned the building remains very fragile and extremely dangerous for construction workers, restoration experts and neighbours.

Police, citing "important risks" of collapse and falling objects, officially closed a large swathe of the island in the Seine River on which Notre Dame sits. The area has been unofficially blocked off since the fire.

Mr Macron wants to rebuild the cathedral within five years, in time for the 2024 Olympics that Paris is hosting. But experts have said the vast scale of the work could easily take 15 years.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.


or to comment
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.

Community Guidelines

  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.