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Fire Destroys Organ, Shatters Stained Glass at Nantes Cathedral in France

NANTES, France—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, officials said.

Prosecutor Pierre Sennes told reporters three fires had been started at the site and authorities were treating the incident as a criminal act. He gave no other details.

Dozens of firemen brought the fire under control after several hours. Smoke was still coming out of the Gothic structure after massive flames earlier engulfed the inside.

The blaze comes just over a year after a major fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, which destroyed its roof and main spire.

Nantes cathedral fire
Nantes cathedral fire
French firefighters work at the scene of a blaze at the Cathedral of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul in Nantes, France, on July 18, 2020. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

Local fire chief Laurent Ferlay told reporters 104 firemen were still at the site to ensure the blaze was completely under control.

The fire had broken out behind the grand organ, which was completely destroyed, he said. Stained glassed windows at the front of the cathedral were blown out.

However, the damage was not as bad as initially feared.

“We are not in a Notre Dame de Paris scenario. The roof has not been touched,” Ferlay said.

Nantes cathedral fire
Nantes cathedral fire
French firefighters battle a blaze at the Cathedral of Saint Pierre and Saint Paul in Nantes, France, on July 18, 2020. (Stephane Mahe/Reuters)

It was not the first time fire has damaged the cathedral.

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