French cathedral fire suspect re-arrested

Updated July 26, 2020

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Paris, July 26 (IANS) A church volunteer has been rearrested in connection with a fire that broke out at a 15th century cathedral in the French city of Nantes, authorities said.

On Saturday, a prosecutor quoted by the French newspaper, Le Monde said the suspect, a 39-year-old Rwandan refugee who worked as a warden at the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral, had admitted causing the fire, the BBC reported.

His lawyer told another newspaper that the man "bitterly regrets" his actions.

The fire destroyed the cathedral's 17th Century organ as well as historic stained-glass windows.

The volunteer, who had been in charge of locking up the cathedral the day before the fire on July 18, was initially detained for questioning after the blaze but then released without charge.

Le Monde said the man had been been questioned again on Saturday and that prosecutors had placed him in custody, the BBC reported.

Officials had previously said that the fire was believed to have been arson and had been started in three different places.

About 100 firefighters managed to contain the flames before it could destroy the main structure at the cathedral.

The fire came over a year after a blaze nearly destroyed Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of France's greatest architectural treasures.

But this is not the first fire at the Nantes cathedral.

It was damaged by Allied bombing in 1944, during World War Two, and then in 1972, its roof was largely destroyed.

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