Thursday, 21 November, 2019

Notre Dame cathedral fire was an accident, officials say

An image taken from a television screen shows an aerial view of the Notre Dame Cathedral engulfed in flames Putin Expresses Sympathy to Macron, French People Over Notre Dame Fire - Kremlin
Patty Aguilar | 18 April, 2019, 05:44

These before and after photos show the extent of the damage at one of Paris' most recognizable landmarks.

Two of France's richest families pledged a total of €300 million on Tuesday to help rebuild Notre-Dame cathedral, ravaged by a catastrophic fire that destroyed its spire and most of the roof.

The fire burned for several hours after breaking out early Monday evening on the roof, which was constructed from giant oak beams, including some dating back to the 13th century. In a statement, the family called Notre Dame an "extraordinary cathedral" and "a symbol of France, its heritage and its unity".

The Paris fire brigade chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said the structure, including its two front towers, was saved "and preserved as a whole". "The fire of Notre-Dame reminds us that our story never ends and we will always have challenges to overcome".

Windsor, who was visiting Paris from her native MI, posted the picture on Twitter on Monday night shortly after the fire destroyed the historic building.

It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said there is no evidence of arson and that investigators are working under the assumption that the inferno was an accident. Hundreds of millions have already been pledged.

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The fire apparently erupted Monday in the roof of the medieval church, which was undergoing a major restoration. Some people bore witness to the inferno by chance on Monday evening, others headed to the scene on goal .

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French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the site, saying Monday that France will launch an global fundraising campaign to assist with the effort.

French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault's family and his LVMH luxury goods group will donate 200 million euros ($226m) to help fix the cathedral.

The Pinault family, which controls French luxury conglomerate Kering, pledged an additional €100 million ($113 million).

UN Secretary Antonio Guterres said that he was "horrified" by the images coming out of Paris.

"So awful to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris", wrote U.S. President Donald Trump in a tweet, later adding, "God bless the people of France".

"Prince Philip and I have been deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre-Dame Cathedral", Queen Elizabeth said.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May also expressed her support.

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