Police investigating Russian Orthodox church fire in Paris

Paris police looking into whether cause of fire was accidental or arson

 Fire (illustrative) (photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Fire (illustrative)
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)

French police have begun an investigation into the cause of a fire that ravaged a small Russian Orthodox church in central Paris on Easter Sunday, the Paris firefighting department said.

About 60 firefighters were dispatched to the church on April 17 to put out the blaze that erupted at Saint-Seraphin-de-Sarov in Paris's 15th arrondissement (district), a Paris firefighting spokesman said. There was extensive damage but no casualties.

Experts from the Paris police prefecture were now looking into whether cause of the fire was accidental or whether it was arson, he said.

"The damage is very significant," the church said on its Facebook page. "The antimins (altar cloth) and epitaphion (image of Christ icon) are intact. Almost everything else burned down."

Since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, several establishments associated with Russia in France, including a Russian arts centre in Paris, have been targeted by acts of vandalism.