Notre Dame fire: What we know so far
Paris prosecutor says no sign Notre Dame fire was caused on purpose, as investigators look at roof renovation work.
A massive fire consumed the Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world.
Firefighters saved the main bell towers and outer walls from collapse before bringing the blaze under control early on Tuesday.
Here is what we know so far:
What happened at Notre Dame?
On Monday evening 16:50 GMT a fire broke out in the attic of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
The blaze consumed the roof and the eight-centuries-old cathedral’s spire for more than eight hours before firefighters brought it under control, saving its bell towers and outer walls.
- The destroyed roof was one of the oldest such structures in Paris, according to the cathedral’s website.
By the early hours of Tuesday, at 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) the fire service said the fire was extinguished.
- About 500 fighters battled the blaze. One firefighter was seriously injured – in the only reported casualty.
What was saved?
The Paris fire brigade chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said the structure, including its two front towers, was saved “and preserved as a whole”.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said at the scene that some of many artworks that were in the cathedral were rescued and were being put in safe storage.
The Holy Crown of Thorns and a sacred tunic worn by 13th-century French king Louis, two irreplaceable artefacts, were rescued.
- French President Emmanuel Macron said the worst has been avoided, but warned the fire would likely continue to burn for several days, saying: “The battle is not yet totally won.”
The cause of the fire is still not known and authorities are continuing their probe into how it started, French junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said on Tuesday.
- The Paris prosecutor’s office said it was treating the fire as an accident, ruling out arson.
The initial call to emergency services notified authorities of a fire in the attic, according to reports.
The site was undergoing renovations.
What happens now?
- Groups and individuals are mobilising to help rebuild the damaged parts of the cathedral. Hundreds of millions have already been pledged.
The Fondation du patrimoine, a heritage organisation, will launch a “national collection” for the reconstruction of Notre Dame, Anne Le Breton, deputy mayor of the French capital’s 4th arrondissement, said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said a “national undertaking” would be launched, and that “far beyond our borders, we will appeal to the greatest talents… who will contribute, and we will rebuild”.
- French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault’s family and his LVMH luxury goods group will donate 200 million euros ($226m) to help repair the cathedral. Another French billionaire, Francois-Henri Pinault of the Kering group, earlier pledged 100 million euros ($113m).
People from all around the world reacted, and shared their thoughts on social media:
US President Trump said it was horrible to “watch”:
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
UN Secretary Antonio Guterres said that he was “horrified” by the images coming out of Paris.
Horrified by the pictures coming from Paris with the fire engulfing Notre Dame Cathedral – a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century. My thoughts are with the people and government of France. https://t.co/KnLegnlRFH
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 15, 2019
EU Council President Donald Tusk expressed his condolences after the fire broke at the cathedral.
Notre-Dame de Paris est Notre-Dame de toute l’Europe. We are all with Paris today.
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) April 15, 2019
Former US President Barak Obama said that Notre Dame was one of the world’s great treasures.
Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can. pic.twitter.com/SpMEvv1BzB
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 15, 2019
UK Prime Minister Theresa May also expressed her support.
My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.
— Theresa May (@theresa_may) April 15, 2019
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sent his condolences.
Saddened that Notre Dame—that iconic monument dedicated to the worship of our one God & that brought all of us closer through Hugo's literary masterpiece—is partially destroyed after standing through wars & revolution for 800 yrs. Our thoughts are w/ the French & all Catholics.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) April 16, 2019