Notre-Dame: Construction Boss Probed

Julien Le Bras, 32, declared last year: 'Our first thought is to protect the values of historical buildings, it's in our DNA.'

His firm, Le Bras Freres, a small company known as the 'Cathedral Restorers', had won the £5million (€5.8m, $6.5m) contract to renovate the spire of the Paris landmark.

Today craftsmen from the company were being questioned by investigators after the spire came crashing down in Monday's blaze, which caused such extensive damage that experts believe it could take decades to repair.

Investigators believe the devastating blaze started in the roof cavity below the spire where the work, which included the use of electric tools, was being carried out.

The blaze was discovered at around 6.50pm but workers would reportedly have downed tools between 5pm and 5.30pm.

According to investigators, an alarm went off at 6.20pm, interrupting a Mass, but no fire was found. The alarm then sounded again at 6.43pm, by which time the flames were burning out of control.

The first daylight pictures inside the wreckage today showed the roof destroyed, the 850-year-old church exposed to the elements and the floor covered in charred debris.

However the three 'irreplaceable' Rose Windows, which date to the 13th century and were last night feared to have melted or exploded, are all still intact.

Other treasures, including a crown of thorns reputed to have been worn by Jesus at his crucifixion, were also rescued from the fire, which officials believe was started by accident. 





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