Home Cover Page The Notre Dame fire is out!

The Notre Dame fire is out!

95
0
SHARE
Fallen debris from the burnt out roof structure sits near the altar inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Authorities declared Tuesday morning that the blaze had been contained as firefighters hosed the south side of the transept to cool down the building, and a district around the cathedral was sealed as military and police patrolled the area. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg
Fallen debris from the burnt out roof structure sits near the altar inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. Authorities declared Tuesday morning that the blaze had been contained as firefighters hosed the south side of the transept to cool down the building, and a district around the cathedral was sealed as military and police patrolled the area. Photographer: Christophe Morin/Bloomberg

Paris (CNN)

Investigators sifting through the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral in Paris warned of potential weaknesses in the remains of the building Tuesday, as experts said it could take months just to identify the scale of the reconstruction task.

While the building was assessed to be structurally sound overall, pictures showed gaping holes in the roof where the ancient vaulted ceiling had collapsed into the nave.  French junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said experts had identified “some vulnerabilities” in the building, particularly in the roof, much of which has been destroyed, and part of the north transept.
Some nearby residential properties were evacuated as authorities assess the scale of the damage from the blaze which engulfed the medieval landmark Monday night. Firefighters said it took more than nine hours before the flames were brought under control.
It was not immediately known what caused the fire, which began on Monday evening in the attic, according to the Paris Fire Brigade. The cathedral, and its central spire — an area where the fire was first visible to onlookers — had been surrounded by scaffolding amid construction work.  Scores of priceless artifacts were rescued from the flames, and will be taken to the Louvre museum for safekeeping.
Paris prosecutors have opened an investigation, but on Tuesday Prosecutor Rémy Heitz said “nothing shows that it’s an intentional act,” and that the start of the fire was “likely accidental.” Heitz also said that the investigation, which is in its early stages, is expected to be a long process.
Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the fire brigade told CNN that internal security officers first heard the fire alarm at 6:20 p.m. local time (12:20 p.m. ET) and began to evacuate the cathedral, even though they didn’t see any sign of fire.
Twenty-three minutes later, the fire alarm rang again, Plus said. That’s when the cathedral’s security officers noticed the flames.
Firefighters were unable to save the cathedral’s 19th century spire, which burned to a blackened shell before finally toppling as thousands of Parisians who had gathered in the streets watched in horror. Two policemen and a firefighter were sustained minor injuries, the brigade said.

Pledge to rebuild

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral “because that is what the French expect, that is what our history merits, and this is our deep destiny.”
“Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations,” Macron said at the scene of the fire on Monday night. “This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel.”
Pledges of funding to help the restoration work were flooding in on Tuesday, with more than $700 million in donations from French business leaders and businesses confirmed by Tuesday afternoon.
They include a 200 million euro ($226 million) donation by the family of French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault and his LVMH luxury goods group, a 112.2 million euro (approximately $126.5) pledge from the French Heritage Foundation, and a 200 million euro ($226 million) donation from the Bettencourt Meyers family, L’Oréal group and the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.
Valérie Pecresse, President of the Île de France region told CNN affiliate BFMTV that the region will provide 10 million euros ($11.13 million) of emergency aid for Notre Dame, and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said she would host a fundraising conference at Paris city hall in the coming weeks.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said it could take months to assess the damage.

Shock and horror

On Tuesday, the city was reeling from the aftermath of the blaze. Most French political parties suspended their European election campaigns.
Nathalie Loiseau, a former Europe minister and a candidate for Emmanuel Macron’s “La République en Marche” party, said that the party’s campaign would be suspended “until further notice.”
“We are going through a profound moment of sadness, Loiseau said in a tweet.
Many people gathered near the site on Tuesday, paying their respects to a landmark that to Parisians, and to some 13 million visitors each year, is a symbol of the French capital.
“For me, it’s much more than stones, it’s a part of myself that is burning,” Paris resident Sarah Virot, 32, said as she looked up at the charred church in front of her.
See the moment Notre Dame's iconic spire falls
See the moment Notre Dame’s iconic spire falls 00:30
As the fire raged on Monday night, thousands of Parisians and tourists stood, horrified, in front of the 850-year-old-Gothic masterpiece. Some sang hymns as, a few days before Easter, one of the symbols of French Catholicism burned in front of them.
“It’s awful to see such a symbol disappearing in front of you. It’s been there for so many years and in a few minutes half of it disappeared,” local Thibaud Binetruy told CNN. “Paris without Notre Dame, madness.”
Another witness, Anne Marie, spoke with tears in her eyes. “In Paris, it’s a monumental symbol — every person with different religions are really moved and saddened,” she said. “Paris without the cathedral is not Paris anymore.”

Messages of support and mourning have poured in from around the world. The Vatican said the Holy See learned with “shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world.”
The fire “goes beyond Paris,” the city’s archbishop, Michel Christian Alain Aupetit, told CNN. “I received a supportive message from the Chief Rabbi of Paris. Everyone is writing in to share their feelings. This goes beyond Paris. People are reacting worldwide.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu described the fire as a “disaster for all humanity,” while the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said the British capital “stands in sorrow” with Paris.
“Heart-breaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always,” Khan said on Twitter.
US President Donald Trump also weighed in, calling it a “terrible, terrible fire.” His suggestions on how to tackle the conflagration were less welcome than his sympathy however. The French Civil Security Agency pushed back against Trump tweeting that “flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” pointing out that dropping water on the ancient church could cause its collapse.

Works of art, artefacts saved

Images of flames engulfing the cathedral — a UNESCO world heritage site since 1991 and one of Paris’s most popular tourist sites — were splashed around the globe. But as shocking as the scene appeared, it could have been so much worse.
Its iconic facade and towers were salvaged, as were a host of invaluable artifacts and works of art stored inside, including the Holy Crown, believed by many to be from the crown of thorns placed on the head of Jesus during the crucifixion, and which the cathedral calls its “most precious and most venerated relic.”