Firefighting

Fire Torches Historic Basilica Rooftop

A fire ravaged a 19th-century basilica in western France on Monday, starting at the close of morning Mass and leaving just a charred shell of the rooftop.

Everyone inside was quickly evacuated without injury, the Rev. Benoit Bertrand of the Nantes diocese told BFM television. Hours later, with 90 firefighters and aircraft on the scene, the blaze was brought under control, according to the Nantes fire department.

The fire was apparently sparked accidentally by workers on the roof, according to the local newspaper, Presse Ocean, which reported a similar fire in 1972 — also started during construction.