A man who posted a tweet suggesting the Notre Dame fire had been started deliberately has apologised after it rapidly spread across Twitter.
United States politician Christopher J Hale, who last year failed in his attempt to be voted into Congress as a Democrat, said his claim about the blaze was backed up by “zero evidence”.
Mr Hale wrote, in the now-deleted tweet: "A Jesuit friend in Paris who works in #NotreDame told me cathedral staff said the fire was intentionally set.”
The famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is on fire, with one worker claiming that the blaze was deliberately set.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) April 15, 2019
Media reports say the fire is linked to "renovation" work.https://t.co/r9GrIRCVNt#NotreDame
The tweet was quickly picked up by various right-wing Twitter accounts and the conspiracy that the fire was started by terrorists spread as quickly as the blaze.
However, Mr Hale said he now regrets his original post.
He told The Daily Beast: “In retrospect, I absolutely never should have tweeted it in the first place.
“I don’t think I had the foresight about how much the worst parts of the internet will grasp for straws in their conspiracy theories.”
Read more from Yahoo News UK:
He added that it was clear the tweet “was going to be weaponised very quickly” and while his tweet did not mention Islam, Mr Hale claimed that “right-wing… Islamophobes” used it.
Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson also suggested that the fire was started intentionall.
He wrote on his Telegram account: “How does an ‘accidental’ fire during restoration works start in two different places at once?”
We all know what is happening.— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) April 15, 2019
Ghastly beyond words. https://t.co/VSHriP8EJP
Stories of recent church fires in France resurface look as Notre Dame burns https://t.co/l2zEeejhF6— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) April 15, 2019
Some 30 people have already been questioned in the investigation into the blaze, which the Paris prosecutor warned would be "long and complex”.
Among those questioned are workers at the five construction companies involved in renovation work on the church spire and roof, which had been under way when the fire broke out.
A total of £760 million has already been donated by business leaders and ordinary worshippers towards the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral after it was ravaged by the fire.
Construction teams brought in a huge crane and a delivery of planks of wood to the site this morning after French president Emmanuel Macron set a five-year deadline to restore the 12th-century landmark.