Nantes cathedral fire: Volunteer warden admits starting blaze

Man is taken into custody after confessing to setting fires in 15th-century French structure

A major fire broke out in the cathedral in the western French city of Nantes on Saturday, blowing out stained glass windows and destroying the grand organ in the 15th-century building. Video: Reuters


A man who volunteered as a warden at France’s 15th-century Nantes cathedral has confessed to setting the blaze that gutted its interior a week ago, his lawyer said on Sunday.

The suspect, whose name has not been made public, was taken into custody on Saturday following his confession. He had been arrested and released earlier in the investigation.

“With these confessions, there’s a kind of relief: it’s someone who is scared, who is somehow overwhelmed,” the man’s lawyer, Quentin Chabert, told a news conference on Sunday. “It was important for him, with this co-operation, to show his sincerity.”

Asked why his client had set the fires, Mr Chabert declined to elaborate.

The July 18th blaze engulfed the inside of the Gothic structure of the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul, destroying its grand organ, as well as stained-glass windows and a painting.

Fires started in three different places within the building, with no sign of a break-in, authorities said. The restoration of the building will take at least three years, the chief architect for France’s historical monuments, Pascal Prunet, has said. – Reuters