A MASSIVE fire that engulfed the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France’s most iconic landmarks, has been brought under control, albeit with significant damages to the building’s spire and roof which collapsed.
Dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, the Notre Dame Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The church receives almost 13 million visitors annually, more than the Eiffel Tower, another iconic landmark in France.
It is not clear yet what caused the fire but there have been renovation works going on in the Cathedral but firefighters worked for several hours to save the historic building from collapsing.
“The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been safeguarded, thanks to the combined action of the various services of the State committed to our side,” the Paris fire service tweeted.
After more than 9 hours of fierce fighting, nearly 400 firefighters from Paris have overcome the appalling fire. 2 police officers and a firefighter were slightly injured.
1/2 #Intervention #NotreDame : la structure de la cathédrale est sauvée et les principales œuvres d’art ont été sauvegardées, grâce à l'action combinée des différents services de l'État engagés à nos côtés. pic.twitter.com/0GJZKAdYdM
— @PompiersParis (@PompiersParis) April 16, 2019
Thousands of people gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns or said prayers.
The Paris Prosecutor’s office said investigators have started to hear testimonies from construction workers working on the site to determine what led to the fire.
As a result of the fire, French President, Emmanuel Macron, cancelled his scheduled television address to the protesters that have marched across the streets of Paris for months.
Describing the cathedral as a building for all French people, Macron promised that “we’ll rebuild Notre-Dame together”.
Goodwill messages have been pouring in from all over the world including from the US President, Donald Trump, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, and the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, called on all the 28 member states of the European Union to help France rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral.
CNN quoted the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, as saying that she plans to hold a “major international conference of donors” to raise money to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, but already, donations have started coming in from notable French businessmen for the rebuilding of the historic monument.
“The family of Bernard Arnault, the French business magnate who owns luxury goods and fashion house LVMH, has promised to contribute €200 million,” CNN reports.
Similarly, French billionaire, François Pinault, also pledged €100 million ($113 million) to the reconstruction of the fire-ravaged cathedral.