Fire erupted in the gothic cathedral of Nantes in western France on Saturday before being brought under control, sparking an arson investigation and leaving Catholic officials lamenting the loss of priceless historical artefacts.
The cathedral’s 17th century organ was destroyed and its platform was in danger of collapsing, said regional fire chief Laurent Ferlay, but added the damage was not comparable to last year’s devastating blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Passers-by saw flames behind the windows of the Cathedral of St Peter and St Paul and alerted the emergency services just before 08:00 am (0600 GMT).
Around 100 firefighters rushed to the scene and managed to control the blaze at the gothic structure, built between 15th and 19th centuries, said Ferlay.
Nantes prosecutor Pierre Sennes noted that the fire had started in three different places, meaning a judicial investigation for possible arson was opened, although no conclusions had yet been drawn.
“When we arrive at a place where a fire has taken place, when you see three separate fire outbreaks, it’s a question of common sense, you open an investigation,” Sennes told AFP.
‘An unimaginable loss’
Local Catholic official Father François Renaud, who oversees the cathedral, surveyed the damage with firemen on Saturday morning and told AFP the great organ had “completely disappeared”, describing it as “an unimaginable loss”.
“The console of the choir organ has gone up in smoke along with the adjoining wooden stalls. Original stained glass windows behind the great organ have all shattered,” he said.
While the blaze was still raging, President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his support for “our firefighters who are taking all the risks to save this gothic jewel”.
Prime Minister Jean Castex said he would visit the scene later on Saturday along with other ministers, telling reporters he wanted to know what happened “but first I’m going to show my solidarity with the people of Nantes”.
The building was last hit by fire in 1972 and its roof took more than 13 years to repair.
Ferlay played down any comparison with Notre-Dame, which caught fire during repair work in April last year.
Much of Notre-Dame’s roof and wooden structure was destroyed, its steeple collapsed and fumes containing toxic molten lead billowed into the air. The structure will take years to repair.
Another religious building in Nantes — the Basilica of St Donatian and St Rogatian — was struck by a fire in 2015 that destroyed three-quarters of its roof.
“I would like to stress that following the 1972 fire, the roof was redone with concrete reinforcement,” Ferlay said.
He said emergency crews had tried to make sure that works of art inside the building had been protected.
The cathedral’s organ was first built in 1621 and has undergone five restorations since — the latest one ending in 1971.
During the 18th century revolutionary period the authorities had wanted to melt down its pipes for scrap, but the organist intervened and argued that the instrument could instead be used for “revolutionary ceremonies”, according to historian Paul Chopelin.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday called on local and federal authorities to provide assistance to victims of the fire incident in Oba Market, Benin, Edo State.
The President’s call was revealed in a statement by spokesman Garba Shehu.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their shops and wares,” the President was quoted to have said.
READ ALSO: Fire Guts Section Of Oba Market In Edo
According to Shehu’s statement, the President also directed an investigation into the cause of the inferno, in order to avoid the “horrific’’ situation in the future, while condoling with all those that were affected.
A section of the popular Oba Market was gutted by fire early Monday.
The inferno was put out by firefighters who were supported by operatives of the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Air Force, among others.
The Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Ibadan (IBEDC) power installation located in Akinyemi area of Ring Road, Ibadan was on Wednesday razed by fire.
The fire erupted in the early hours of the day and raged for hours.
Firefighters were alerted to the scene and they successfully contained the inferno.
The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained as at the time of this report. Some other facilities were however affected by the blaze.
Properties worth millions of naira were reported destroyed in an early Sunday morning fire outbreak in Ibadan, the Oyo State Capital.
Channels Television gathered that the fire disaster occurred at one of the biggest indigenous furniture company located along Iyaganku/ J.Allen road in Ibadan.
Heavy-duty equipment and display furniture were completely razed while three other shops across the road were also affected by the fire outbreak.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire started around 3:00 a.m.
Some of the shop owners affected ran to the scene after getting distress calls in the early hours of the day.
It took the combined efforts of firefighters belonging to the private companies around the area to stop further escalation of the fire.
In another incident, the popular Akesan market in Oyo town was also early Sunday morning leaving little or nothing to be salvaged.
These fire incidents follow a tragic fire accident that occurred last week Friday in Eyin Grammer area of Molete in Ibadan where three siblings were reported killed.
Residents of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa States capital were greeted with anxiety following the razing of the State-owned radio station on Tuesday morning.
The fire, which started on Tuesday morning at about 7:30 am destroyed a critical section Bayelsa Radio, which is located along Azikoro Road in the state capital.
Confirming the incident, the Commissioner for Information in the state, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, said nobody was injured neither was any life lost in the inferno.
According to him, the state government will probe the cause of the outbreak to avoid a reoccurrence.
He explained that his ministry will work out modalities to ensure the resumption of full broadcasting to the delight of its audience.
As at the time of filing this report, men of the Bayelsa State Fire Service were seen battling to put out the fire.
The inferno however destroyed some facilities in the live studio, links room, ICT unit, recording studios, and the presenter’s office.
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Three persons have been killed in a fire outbreak that occurred at an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Monguno, Borno State.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed this in a statement on Friday by its Head of Media and Public Relations, Mr Sani Datti.
According to him, the incident occurred on Thursday at the camp which houses nearly 8,000 IDPs.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, while sympathising with the victims said the fire started in a family cooking area in front of a shelter made of straw, bamboo and plastic sheeting, sweeping through the Stadium Camp.
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Property worth millions of naira have been gutted by fire at the Keffi market in Nasararwa State.
The incident occurred in the early hours of Friday but the cause is, however, yet to be identified.
Some of the victims who spoke to Channels Television decried that a similar incident occurs every end of the year.
They, therefore, called on the government to intervene immediately and come up with strategies to avoid a recurrence.
Less than 24 hours to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Local Government congress in Imo State a fire outbreak has occurred in the party’s secretariat.
The fire outbreak occurred in one of the offices at the APC secretariat located along Okigwe road in Owerri. Properties and vital documents were destroyed in the fire.
This fire outbreak has created a tensed political atmosphere as some members have alleged that the secretariat was set ablaze by some yet to be identified hoodlums.
According to eyewitnesses, the fire started around 6:00 p.m. during a heavy downpour which made people around the area scamper for safety.
Security operatives and fire service officials later came to quench the fire.
Another eyewitness account who pleaded anonymity says the office was set ablaze by suspected hoodlums who came in a Siena vehicle and disappeared immediately after setting the office ablaze.
Meanwhile, the Imo State Commissioner of police, Dasuki Galadanchi, who later came to the scene of the incident told newsmen that the cause of the fire has not been ascertained but will ensure that the police gets to the root of the matter.
He assured the people of the state to go about their normal business as the police will ensure the safety of lives and property. He said in the meantime the APC office will be cordoned off.
The early working hours of Monday greeted Nigerians with a fire outbreak in Magodo area of Lagos, the nation’s capital.
Two persons were confirmed dead as a result in a fire outbreak from Second Coming gas plant situated along the CMD road of the state.
The fire was allegedly as a result of gas leakage from one of the trucks in the compound.
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Four children and a teenager were among the 12 people killed in a blaze that tore through a five-floor apartment building in New York, the city’s worst fire in decades, police confirmed Friday.
Three girls aged one, two and seven, and an unidentified boy were listed among the dead after Thursday’s tragedy in the 25-apartment building in the Bronx. A 19-year-old woman was also killed.
Three other women, including a 37-year-old and a 63-year-old, and four unidentified men were listed as dead, police said.
Investigations are underway to determine the cause of the blaze at the residential building near the Bronx Zoo, a major tourist attraction in the US city home to 8.5 million people.
Mayor Bill de Blasio called it an “unspeakable tragedy” in the middle of the holiday season and said it was the worst fire in the city in at least a quarter-century.
It was a tragic Christmas for some shop owners as fire destroyed property and goods worth millions on Monday, along the popular Oba Adesida Road in Ondo state.
Eye-witnesses said the fire, which lasted for over two hours started from one of the shops at about 1:00 pm and later spread to other shops nearby.
As a result of the Christmas break, the shop owners were not around to put out the fire or salvage any of their goods, hence resulting in major damages before the fire was eventually put out.
On hearing news of the incident, shop owners who were affected lamented over the huge loss.
One of the victims who owns a big bookshop, Patrick Adedeji, narrated his plight to Channels Television.
“I was at the Redemption camp in Lagos when I started seeing strange calls on my phone. I managed to answer one and I was informed that my shop was on fire. Some of my people rushed down here but before then, everything was burnt. I’m at a total loss now as I just stocked the shop with goods worth millions of naira,” he said.
Another victim, Remi Ibitola who operates a recording studio said: “Though my office was not burnt but because it was a storey building, it was from there people were pouring water to put off the fire in the shops around.
“All our equipment were destroyed and flooded. Some of the people who came around carted away some of my property. I have lost close to 20 million naira worth of property to the fire outbreak, it is quite unfortunate.”
All those affected have made a passionate appeal to the government as well as spirited Nigerians to come to their aid.