Time-lapse shots of Notre-Dame spire may yield clues on blaze

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A time lapse camera installed just hours before Monday’s devastating blaze at Notre-Dame de Paris may contain vital clues as to what caused the inferno, a French scaffolding company working at the cathedral said on Thursday.

Europe Echafaudage was one of five companies contracted to restore Notre-Dame’s spire. The 90-metre (275-foot) collapsed in the blaze, crashing through the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling.

Footage from the camera, which was placed on the northern belltower and is now in the hands of investigators, shows the first smoke coming out of the spire’s base, Marc Eskenazi, a representative for Europe Echafaudage told Reuters.

“Shots were taken every 10 minutes starting from Monday at 2 pm.,” Eskenazi said. “Smoke can be seen on these images. It starts on the south side” he said.

So far the authorities have said the fire appears accidental, although they have not ruled out arson. Police sources say an electrical fault is one possibility.

The office of Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz did not respond to a request for comment on the images.

Investigators have been able to access some areas of Notre-Dame, including its two bell towers, though parts of the historic nave remained too dangerous to enter more than 72 hours after the fire.

The damage to one of France’s best loved monuments prompted an outpouring of national sorrow and urgent calls for the authorities to find out what caused the fire.

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