A man rushed toward the Arc de Triomphe on Tuesday night, fire extinguisher in hand, intent on dousing flames he’d spotted near the massive monument, French police told media on Wednesday.
Under normal circumstances his actions may have been commended, except in this case the flickering flames were not a sign of a fire but were in fact the eternal flame that burns in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier underneath the arch at the famous monument.
The man himself appeared to have had a few too many demis, French newspaper Le Parisien reported.
Police said the man was “in a drunken state”, had parked near the war memorial around 7 pm and then, armed with the extinguisher, tried to hop over the barrier that surrounds the flame.
He was arrested fairly quickly and subsequently admitted he wanted to put out the flame, police said.
The flame has been attacked in the past. In 2002 a mentally unhinged soldier was arrested for trying to urinate on it, another man burnt himself the previous year after sitting over the flames and another was previously arrested for trying to cook eggs there.
The Tomb of the Unknown Solider was placed beneath the Arc de Triomphe at the Place Charles de Gaulle in 1920. It includes the remains of an unidentified soldier who represents all the soldiers killed during World War I.
The eternal flame was first lit in 1923 and is rekindled every night at 6:30.
This isn't the time The Local has reported on someone during something while drunk that he or she later regretted. See links below: