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Suspicion Turns to 'Computer Glitch' in Notre Dame Fire

But full answer may be 2 to 3 months away
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 19, 2019 2:09 PM CDT
With Notre Dame cathedral in background, religious officials carry the cross during the Good Friday procession in Paris.   (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
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(Newser) – Architects and construction workers have stabilized the structure of Notre Dame, four days after fire ravaged the iconic Paris cathedral, and firefighters will leave the site Friday night, a fire brigade spokesman said. "There is no more risk the edifice's walls could fall down," Lt. Col. Gabriel Plus told the AP, adding that firefighters have been able to cool down the walls and debris from the roof inside the cathedral. Earlier, the cathedral's rector said a "computer glitch" may have been behind the blaze, though Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate. "We may find out what happened in two or three months," he told local business leaders. The fire burned through the centuries-old oak beams supporting the vaulted stone ceiling, dangerously weakening the building. The neighborhood was blocked off as stones continued to tumble off the sides of the cathedral.

On Thursday, investigators said an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire. The Parisien newspaper has reported that a computer glitch might have misdirected firefighters responding to the initial alarm. The unsourced report said investigators are also looking into whether the fire was linked to temporary elevators being used in a renovation. Chauvet said there were fire alarms throughout the building, which he described as "well protected." As Catholics carried out the Way of the Cross ritual near the cathedral to mark Good Friday, President Emmanuel Macron met with officials from the United Nations' cultural agency. UNESCO representatives have offered their technical expertise to help with the reconstruction. (Billionaires are facing a backlash over their cathedral donations.)


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