Notre Dame cathedral fire is under control, Paris firefighters say
The fire that engulfed Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral is under control, a Paris firefighter said on Tuesday, local time.
The iconic cathedral’s towers were saved, but its roof structure was lost, the church’s rector said.
Firefighters worked diligently to save the towers and to keep a bell from collapsing, but their efforts could not save a roof structure that dated to the year 1220, said Msgr. Patrick Chauvet.
WATCH: The glorious and tragic history of the Notre Dame Cathedral
“The framework from the 13th century is called a forest, because it required a forest of trees to build it,” Chauvet said.
The structure featured wood beams made from trees that were believed to have been cut down as early as the year 1160.
WATCH: Video reveals inside of Notre Dame after fire burns through cathedral
French President Emmanuel Macron said that he’s going to launch an international fundraising campaign to restore the cathedral on Tuesday — he noted that the “worst has been avoided although the battle is not yet totally won.”
François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering, an international luxury company that owns brands such as Balenciaga and Gucci, has pledged 100 million euros (C$151 million) to restore Notre-Dame.
The Paris prosecutors’ office is treating the blaze as an accident for the moment, but it’s still being investigated.
WATCH: Notre Dame fire — France’s Macron says ‘we will rebuild’ as flames still burn
The cathedral’s towers were believed to be safe and the fire cooling off, said Laurent Nunez, secretary to France’s interior minister.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said Monday that firefighters were optimistic they could save the cathedral’s main towers from flames.
Two-thirds of Notre Dame’s roof was “ravaged” and a single firefighter was seriously hurt in the blaze, Paris Fire Brigade commander Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters.
Firefighters managed to keep flames from reaching a belfry, preventing a collapse.
WATCH: The tragic and historic loss of the Notre Dame in Paris on Monday sent shock waves across the world, including here in Calgary
Gallet had earlier said that if the bell fell, then so would the tower.
A significant collection of artwork and holy objects inside the cathedral was saved, Hidalgo added.
Among the treasures taken from the cathedral was a centuries-old crown of thrones made of gold and reeds.
Personnel also recovered a tunic that had been worn by Saint Louis, who was king of France in the 13th century.
But firefighters faced challenges trying to ensure that certain large paintings could be recovered in time, Chauvet said.
The flames began just before 7 p.m. local time on Monday, and spread rapidly throughout the cathedral, which is one of Europe’s most well-known structures.
By 7:40 p.m., the fire had spread to the spire, which collapsed just before 8 p.m.
WATCH: Notre Dame fire — Paris fire brigade footage shows extent of cathedral blaze
Minutes after that, Notre Dame’s entire roof came down, according to Reuters.
About 400 firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses, as police and other emergency personnel cleared the area.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media.
The French capital’s police department said no deaths have been reported from the fire.
WATCH: Fire tears through Notre Dame Cathedral
Macron cancelled a speech, which was slated to take place in the evening, in order to visit the scene of the fire.
As the fire spread, Macron tweeted, “Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
Macron was photographed with other onlookers outside the Cathedral as firefighters battled flames.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that “exceptional force” was being deployed in order to save as much of the cathedral as possible.
Michel Aupetit, the archbishop of Paris, tweeted a message to priests to pray for Notre Dame and ring their church bells.
WATCH: Fire engulfs 850-year-old Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris
“To all priests in Paris: firefighters are still fighting to save the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The frame, the roof and the boom are consumed. Pray. If you wish, you can ring the bells of your churches to invite to prayer.”
The Gothic cathedral is among the most famous from the Middle Ages. Construction of the iconic landmark began in 1163, according to its website. It was built on the ruins of two earlier churches.
The fire is “potentially linked” to a 6-million euro (C$9.07-million) renovation project that was currently underway at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
The building also houses some of the world’s most valuable art.
The cathedral, which features in Victor Hugo’s classic novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, attracts roughly 12 million tourists every year.
This is what the Notre Dame looked like before Monday’s fire:
Reaction to the devastating fire poured in from across the globe, with world leaders offering support to France.
Among them was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who called the scene “heartbreaking.”
Global Affairs Canada told Global News that there are no reports of Canadians affected by the fire.
The government advised Canadians in Paris to “respect security perimeters in place” and follow instructions of local authorities.
WATCH: Flames rage inside cathedral as darkness falls
Any Canadians that may need assistance can reach out to the government’s 24-hour emergency services centre by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +1 800 387 3124.
U.S. President Donald Trump also reacted to the fire, offering unsolicited advice on how to tackle the inferno.
The French Civil Security service, possibly responding to Trump’s suggestion that firefighters “act quickly” and employ flying water tankers, said that was not an option as it might destroy the entire building.
“Helicopter or plane, the weight of the water and the intensity of dropping it at low altitude could weaken the structure of Notre-Dame and cause collateral damage to surrounding buildings,” it tweeted.
New York’s Met museum also offered to help with the eventual recovery process.
The Vatican also expressed devastation at the fire.
“The terrible news of the fire that has devastated the cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world, was received in the Holy See with shock and sadness,” spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said.
— With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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