Written by Staff Writer
16 Apr, 2019 | 8:45 pm
French officials were assessing the extent of damage caused to the Notre-Dame cathedral this morning (April 16) after a massive fire tore through the UNESCO world heritage cathedral as focus shifted to ensuring the structural integrity of the remaining building.
Firefighters said the blaze was “under control” after several hours of fire-fighting operations. Teams of French officials and experts, including architects, will be inspecting the site to determine the structural stability of the building.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that the cathedral would be re-built and said an international fund would be set up to finance it. The 12th-century cathedral was in the midst of a massive 20-year renovation project.
The cause of the fire is believed to be an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work taking place at the UNESCO world heritage site. Investigations are proceeding.
Firefighters managed to save the Paris landmark’s main stone structure, including its two iconic 69-meter bell towers, but the cathedral’s spire and the roof have been destroyed.
Emergency teams managed to rescue valuable artwork and religious items, including what is said to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus before his crucifixion, which were stored inside the cathedral built in the 12th and 13th centuries.
A tunic, which King Louis IX is said to have worn when he brought the crown of thorns to Paris, was also saved.
Already, individuals and groups are mobilising to help rebuild Notre-Dame. Hundreds of millions of euros have already been pledged.
Billionaire François-Henri Pinault pledged €100m (£86m; $113m) towards rebuilding Notre-Dame. Another €200m was pledged by Bernard Arnault’s family and their company LVMH.
Paris’s beloved Notre-Dame cathedral has been one of the French capital’s most famous landmarks since it was built 850 years ago.
Notre-Dame, which translates in English as “Our Lady”, has played a role in key moments of history and captured the imagination of people around the world, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.
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