A fire broke out early Monday evening in a church in central Lille, before being brought under control by firefighters in the evening.
Pending an investigation, the prefect of Hauts-de-France evokes a "possible" accidental origin.
The firefighters were alerted shortly before 8 p.m. for a fire in the church of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul - a brick building dating from the 19th century - located in the heart of the popular district of Wazemmes, next to the square where a well-known market in the city.
The church of Wazemmes in #Lille on fire.
Starts in the sacristy of the church in the early evening.
It is destroyed.
No information on the origin of the fire.
The sacristan, the last person to leave the premises: “I don't understand what could have happened!
»@ F3nord pic.twitter.com/rheG9fN9K4
- Marie Lebrun (@ marielebrun21) May 3, 2021
this evening in #Lille, the Church of Saint-Pierre-Saint-Paul is in flames.
firefighters are on site.
many local residents are watching the scene.
- Eglantine L'Haridon (@eglantinelha) May 3, 2021
The disaster extended to the roof of the building before the arrival of the firefighters, who mobilized at the height of the intervention 53 firefighters, about twenty devices and activated three lances, according to the departmental operational center of fire and rescue (Codis).
"There is no risk of collapse"
At around midnight, "the main focus had just been extinguished", and the emergency services had to continue their intervention "for a few more hours", looking for "hot spots, or residual foci, to avoid any risk of a resumption of fire" , said Codis.
Speaking earlier, around 9:30 pm, the prefect Michel Lalande had already indicated that the fire was "under control", but raised fears for the frame of the nave, while "embers" escaped from the roof.
"There is no risk of collapse", finally indicated around midnight the firefighters, who gradually lightened the intervention system.
Pending a judicial inquiry which will be opened, the prefect deemed "possible" an accidental origin, noting that "the fire started from the sacristy which was locked" and "is adjacent to the electrical premises of the church ".
The completely renovated church
The damage observed affects "mainly the sacristy", also noted in the middle of the evening the socialist mayor Martine Aubry.
The church is the one "which has the most faithful, in the heart of the city", and had "been completely renovated, the work was completed last July," she noted.
This work included "an upgrade to electrical standards", detailed the Archbishop of Lille, Laurent Ulrich, specifying that the sacristy was "well locked" since the end of the afternoon.
On Twitter, the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin, for his part expressed his support for the firefighters engaged, and his "thoughts of solidarity for Lille and Catholics".
Support for the firefighters of @ Sdis59 who are currently fighting against the fire at the Saint-Pierre Saint-Paul church in Wazemmes, in Lille.
The prefect goes on site at my request.
Thoughts of solidarity for Lille and Catholics.
- Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) May 3, 2021
The building had been heavily damaged during the two world wars, before major reconstruction work in the 1950s.