World News

Paris terror attack hero helped save Notre Dame artifacts, mayor says

Posted April 16, 2019 12:47 p.m. EDT

— A Paris chaplain who tended to victims of the 2015 terror attack in the city has been hailed as a hero once more, after he reportedly entered the burning Notre Dame cathedral to rescue priceless relics from the blaze.

Jean-Marc Fournier, the chaplain of Paris fire service, entered the cathedral with firefighters to help salvage some of the priceless artefacts held in the building, the Paris 15th district mayor Philippe Goujon told reporters on Tuesday.

Fournier had previously held prayers and assisted victims after terrorists killed 130 people in attacks throughout the French capital in November 2015.

A number of relics were rescued during Monday's devastating fire, which tore through and destroyed parts of the 850-year-old church.

They include the Crown of Thorns, which some believe was placed on the head of Christ and which the cathedral calls its "most precious and most venerated relic."

He has been praised as a hero throughout social media for his bravery after Etienne Loraillère, the director of the French Catholic television network KTO, posted a picture of Fournier and commended the chaplain.

Fournier was based in Germany before he joined the Paris fire service as its chaplain, and has also served in the Diocese of the French Armed Forces in Afghanistan, according to an interview he gave to Christian Family magazine after the 2015 terror attacks.

Officials have started relocating numerous artifacts pieces of art from the Notre Dame, with most being relocated to either Paris' City Hall or the Louvre museum.

A tweet from Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo showed crews removing artworks.

"We managed to protect the most precious treasures in a safe place," a Paris City Hall spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday.

CNN has contacted the Paris fire service for comment.