Boss of firm charged with renovating Notre Dame boasted that protecting historical buildings was "in our DNA"

Julien Le Bras, of firm Le Bras Frere, won the £5million contract last year to repair the historic building's spire


                            Boss of firm charged with renovating Notre Dame boasted that protecting historical buildings was "in our DNA"

The head of the construction firm tasked with renovating the Notre Dame Cathedral had reportedly talked about his firm's ability to protect historic sites, according to reports.

Julien Le Bras, of the firm Le Bras Frere, before beginning the work of renovating the spire of the cathedral, had declared last year: "Our first thought is to protect the values of historical buildings, it's in our DNA."

The cathedral, however, went up in flames on Monday, and the blaze damaged certain sections of the Gothic building, including the iconic spire and the roof. It is believed the blaze is linked to the renovation work which was going on at the time of the fire. Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation was in its early stages.  Experts have said that the fire has caused such extensive damage that could take decades to repair.

Firefighters tackle the blaze as flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

 

Le Bras' firm, Le Bras Frere, which is also known as the "Cathedral Restorers" had reportedly won the £5million contract last year to repair the historic building's spire, the Daily Mail reported. Shortly after the fire was extinguished on Tuesday, investigators began questioning the craftsmen from the construction firm to establish the cause of the fire. 

According to investigators, the blaze began in the roof cavity below the spire where the renovation work was being carried out, and which included use of electric tools.

Le Bras, while talking to the reporters at the scene, said: "We want more than anyone for light to be shed on the origin of this drama." The firm's owner has said that there were 12 workers involved in the refurbishment, however, none of them were on site at the time of the fire.

Le Bras can be seen on the rightmost side. (le-bras-freres.fr)

 

The 32-year-old told reporters  that "all the security measures were respected" and that "workers are participating in the investigation with no hesitation."

Le Bras, in a film posted online about his construction company, had boasted about his firm's "technical ability and competence" in restoring historic buildings.

"We are proud of our work on historic buildings. We have the technical ability and competence. Our first thought is to protect the values of historical buildings, it's in our DNA," the young boss said in the film.

People watch as smoke and flames rise from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, collapsing the spire. The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work. (Getty Images)

 

A clip was also posted on the Le Bras Freres Facebook page on New Year's Eve, where the CEO can be heard saying that his firm is proud to have been chosen to work on  buildings across the country, including the Congress Palace in Metz and Notre Dame in Paris.

"We are completely ready to start work in 2019 and we are very well motivated. The team is ready and we have the know-how... The goal is to keep as many old items as possible and not to put the building at risk," he had said in the video.