April 17, 2019 12:57 pm

Walt Disney pledges $5M to Notre Dame following fire

WATCH: Firefighters worked through the night on Monday to save the Notre Dame's main bell towers and outer walls from collapse, before bringing the blaze under control in a nine-hour battle. Since then, President Macron has promised the Paris cathedral's reconstruction, as millions of euros have been pledged by French businessmen for its restoration.​

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The Walt Disney Company has pledged $5 million to the reconstruction effort of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral after a fire tore through the structure on Monday.

The Notre-Dame de Paris has inspired writers, painters, and filmmakers for hundreds of years.

WATCH BELOW: French President Macron hopes to rebuild Notre-Dame in five years

The Notre Dame cathedral was the setting for Disney’s 1996 animated movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

READ MORE: France opens redesign contest for rebuilding Notre Dame’s spire to international architects

“Notre Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said. “The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbours in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a $5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece.”

Monday’s devastating fire caused the cathedral’s wooden spire to collapse and it also spread to one of its towers causing the structure’s entire frame to be at risk of igniting.

Paris public prosecutor Remy Heitz said there was no obvious indication the fire was arson. Fifty people were working on what would be a long and complex investigation, officials said.

The fire swiftly ripped through the cathedral’s oak roof supports, where workmen had been carrying out extensive renovations to the spire’s timber-framed supports. Police began questioning the workers involved, the prosecutor’s office said.

WATCH BELOW: The latest on Notre Dame fire


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One firefighter was injured but no one else was hurt, with the fire starting at around 6:30 p.m. after the building was closed to the public for the evening.

Firefighters examined the facade, with its spectacular 10-metre, filigreed stained-glass Rose Window still intact. They could be seen walking atop the belfries as police kept the area in lockdown.

Investigators will not be able to enter the cathedral’s blackened nave until experts are satisfied its walls withstood the heat and the building is structurally sound.

“Yesterday, we thought the whole cathedral would collapse. Yet this morning she is still standing, valiant, despite everything,” said Sister Marie Aimee, a nun who had hurried to a nearby church to pray as the flames spread.

READ MORE: Donors pledge 700M euros in less than 24 hours for Notre Dame cathedral reconstruction

Some 30 people have already been questioned in the investigation, which the Paris prosecutor warned would be “long and complex.” Among those questioned are workers at the five construction companies involved in work renovating the church spire and roof that had been underway when the fire broke out.

Macron pledged on Tuesday that France would rebuild the fire-devastated Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, saying he hoped the work would be done in five years and the French people would pull together to repair their national symbol.

WATCH BELOW: Drone footage shows extent of damage

Just a day after the fire, more than 750-million euros (US$845 million) had been pledged, including 500 million from the three billionaire families that own France’s giant luxury goods empires: Kering, LVMH and L’Oreal.

—With files from Global News’ Maham Abedi and the Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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