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Fire chaplain hailed as hero in Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral blaze

/ 11:57 AM April 18, 2019
Fire chaplain hailed as hero in Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral blaze

People watch Notre Dame cathedral, in Paris, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Notre Dame Cathedral would have been completely burned to the ground in a “chain reaction collapse” had firefighters not moved rapidly in deploying their equipment to battle the blaze racing through the landmark monument, a Paris official said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS — For the chaplain of the Paris fire brigade, the hardest thing about the blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral was cracking the security codes to rescue its most precious relic.

Fire chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier is being hailed as a hero for his role in salvaging the crown of thorns during Monday’s fire.

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Fournier told Catholic broadcaster KTO on Wednesday that “the difficulty for us was to find the person holding the security codes to open the safe where the holy relic is kept.”

The chaplain was also celebrated for tending to the injured and praying for the dead in Paris’ Bataclan concert hall after the 2015 Islamic extremist attack there. He also spent time in Afghanistan with the French military.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said investigation into the Notre Dame Cathedral fire has not produced any indication so far of a criminal act. The probe, however, is still in its early stages.

The office on Wednesday said investigators had been able to access some parts of the building to begin their on-site work.

Meanwhile, “about 10” more people have been questioned by police, bringing the total to about 40.

The bells of France have tolled, ringing out from the nation’s cathedrals and basilicas in commemoration of the Notre Dame fire.

From Sacre Coeur in Paris’ Montmartre district to Strasbourg in the east and Rouen in the west, the architectural treasures of France solemnly marked the inferno Wednesday evening, two days after it ravaged Notre Dame of Paris

The Gothic cathedral is widely regarded as the soul of France.

At Saint Sulpice church, the second largest house of worship in Paris, French First Lady Brigitte Macron attended a special service, the yearly blessing of the oils during Holy Week ahead of Easter Sunday.

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President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to have Notre Dame Cathedral rebuilt in five years. /kga

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TAGS: Cathedral, Catholic, crown of thorns, France, International news, Jean-Marc Fournier, most precious relic, news, Notre Dame, Paris, Relic, Religion, world, world news
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