The prosecutor’s office said the fire is currently being investigated as an accident.
So far, there is no evidence of the fire being deliberately set.
There is little doubt the wood rafters and hundreds of beams made it a tinder box. The roof was fixed to prevent water from getting in and that greatly hampered firefighters efforts.
President Macron said the worst had been avoided with the preservation of the main structure. He is optimistic. What is left might not support the flying buttresses. It’s very fragile.
Two French businessmen have already pledged hundreds of millions of dollars to restore the cathedral and an international fund will be set up by the Fondation du Patrimoine. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and they will also help.
Several churches in Paris rang their bells as the fire blazed this Holy Week. “Notre Dame is burning, France is crying and the whole world, too. It is extremely emotional,” Archbishop of Pairs Michel Aupetit said.
FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The Vatican expressed “shock and sadness.” Prime Minister Theresa May described the fire as terrible.
UNESCO said it stood at France’s side” to restore “this priceless heritage.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel called the cathedral a “symbol of French and European culture.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will send experts to help restore the cathedral. The British government is also looking into what it can do.
Spanish Culture Minister Jose Guirao said this country will offer “moral support, solidarity, and from there, whatever they need.”
My family was two blocks away when the fire broke out and they were soon covered in ashes. People were solemn, many were singing hymns as the great cathedral burned. Maybe that helped because many priceless objects and the towers and great bells, made famous by The Hunchback of Notre Dame, were spared.
LIVE FOOTAGE OF THE DAMAGE BY DAYLIGHT
WHAT WAS SAVED
The fire began at 5:530 pm GMT and was finally extinguished at 10 pm. Late on Monday evening fire chiefs confirmed that the structure of the cathedral has been saved, despite initial fears it may be entirely destroyed.
President Macron vowed to rebuild the 850-year-old cathedral and to fly in the best artisans from around the world. There are some things that can never be redone. The secrets of some of the building died with the artists centuries ago.
Macron also praised the work of the firefighters and others who helped. The firefighters entered the building, saving the structure itself.
“I’m telling you all tonight, we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years,” French President Macron said.
As kings rose and fell, and revolutions came and went, and Nazis occupied the land, the cathedral stood and witnessed history. It was where Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804 and General Charles de Gaulle declared the liberation of France from Germany.
Archbishops are buried there.
All or most works of art are saved.
All or most of the works of art and the church’s holiest relics were removed before the renovations began. The crown of thorns that is believed to have sat on the head of Jesus Christ was spared.
The organ was saved!
A team of heroes went in and brought many treasures out and videos showed gargoyles being removed while flames lapped at the structure. Statues had been taken out before the renovation began.
The towers are standing and the bells were spared, but most of the church was reduced to ashes in an hour.
The altar and the cross were miraculously spared.
“Hold the cross up high so I may see it through the flames” – Last Words of Joan of Arc
One of the rose windows survives, a pulpit is intact and pews are undamaged, the BBC reported.
A tunic worn by King Louis IX when he brought the Crown of Thorns to Paris was saved by the heroes.
Notre Dame is the “entire history of France,” as Mayor Hidalgo said.
“Good news: all the works of art were saved,” French journalist Nicolas Delesalle tweeted in French. “The treasure of the Cathedral is intact, the Crown of thorns, the Holy Sacraments.”
A marvel of history and beauty that can never be fully restored is gone. Don Lemon missed all that.
A terrible tragedy. I pray that this fire was not purposely set, but if it was then the individuals need to be caught and punished to the fullest possible extent of the law.