Notre Dame latest: 180,000 bees living in hives in cathedral's roof found alive after inferno

Hatty Collier

Tens of thousands of bees kept in hives in Notre Dame’s roof survived the devastating fire that ripped through the cathedral.

The 180,000 bees that live in three hives in the cathedral’s roof have been discovered alive, Nicolas Geant, the monument’s beekeeper said.

"I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn't burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral," he said.

Mr Geant has looked after the bees since 2013, when they were installed as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.

Mr Geant said the carbon dioxide in the fire's heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state instead of killing them, adding that when bees sense fire they "gorge themselves on honey" and protect their queen. European bees never abandon their hives, he said.

It comes as architects and construction workers stabilised the damaged structure on Friday, four days after the fast-spreading fire ravaged the iconic Paris building.

"There is no more risk the edifice's walls could fall down," Lt. Col. Gabriel Plus, chief spokesman for the Paris fire service, said. Plus said firefighters have been able to cool down the walls and debris from the roof inside the cathedral, and there are no more "hot points" inside.

"It's a miracle that the cathedral is still standing, and that all the relics were saved," he said.

A police official said an electrical short circuit was the most likely cause of the Notre Dame fire (AFP/Getty Images)

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral within five years. The fire is believed to have started by accident. Investigators say an electrical short circuit is the most likely cause of the fire.