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Fire out at Notre Dame Cathedral, president promises rebuild

Tuesday, April 16th 2019, 7:00 am - The enormous medieval landmark caught fire Monday evening

Firefighters were able to contain a fire at Paris' iconic Notre Dame Cathedral that broke out Monday evening and burned for over 12 hours.

Thick clouds of smoke filled the skies above the capital as the cathedral burned. With moderate temperatures, no wind to speak of, and light rain that pushed in on Tuesday, the weather at least didn't work against the firefighter's daunting task.

The fire has all but destroyed the roof, and the spire has collapsed into the building. However, though officials initially expressed doubt the cathedral could be saved, Paris' fire chief told French media Monday evening that the main structure and iconic two main towers were "saved and preserved."

On Tuesday morning, Paris firefighters spokesman Gabriel Plus declared, "the entire fire is out" and that emergency services will be "surveying the movement of the structures and extinguishing smouldering residues," as quoted by The Associated Press.

Notre Dame Destruction Image: Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool via REUTERS

According to reports by CNN, the landmark's iconic rose stained-glass windows survived the fire.

The Notre Dame's website says that the "three rose windows of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris constitute one of the greatest masterpieces of Christianity."

The fate of other artifacts remains unconfirmed.

Reuters notre dame fire 2 Image: Reuters

France Info reports the fire began around the attic of the cathedral. Ongoing renovation work has left part of the building surrounded by scaffolding, and France Info says firefighters believe the fire is "potentially linked" to the renovation work, and the Paris Prosecutor's Office has said it will launch an investigation. One firefighter was reported injured.

As the country mourns this loss of history, French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral and appealed for help to do so. According to The Associated Press, France's richest businessman Bernard Arnault, and his luxury goods group LVMH answered this plea with a pledge of €200 million, which is more than $300 million Canadian. Another businessman, Francois-Henri Pinault and his billionaire father Francois Pinault were also planning to immediately give €100 million, more than $150 million Canadian, to help with repairs.

Reuters notre dame fire 1 Image: Reuters

Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most visited landmarks in the world, and the most visited in Paris. Construction began in 1160 CE, and took around 100 years to complete, though numerous renovations would be undertaken in the centuries since.

"Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame," Historian Camille Pascal told BFMTV, according to the BBC. "We can be only horrified by what we see."

With files from The Associated Press, Reuters


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