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Notre-Dame Will Be Rebuilt, Macron Says, as Fire Investigation Begins Notre-Dame Will Be Rebuilt, Macron Says, as Fire Is Extinguished
(about 1 hour later)
PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron of France has vowed that Notre-Dame cathedral will be rebuilt, as prosecutors begin investigating what caused a fire that badly damaged the 850-year-old symbol of Paris and caused its thin spire to collapse in smoke and flames. PARIS — The fire that roared through the Notre-Dame cathedral has been extinguished, officials said on Tuesday, a day after President Emmanuel Macron of France vowed that it would be rebuilt and prosecutors began investigating what started the fire that badly damaged the 850-year-old symbol of Paris and caused its spire and roof to collapse in smoke and flames.
Mr. Macron said an international effort to raise funds for reconstruction would begin Tuesday. Mr. Macron said an international effort to raise funds for reconstruction would begin Tuesday. “We will rebuild Notre-Dame,” he said as he visited the site on Monday night. “Because that is what the French expect.”
“We will rebuild Notre-Dame,” he said as he visited the site on Monday night. “Because that is what the French expect.” The billionaire Pinault family of France has already pledged 100 million euros, or $113 million, to the effort, Agence-France Presse reported, and the family of Bernard Arnault, owners of the luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, plan to contribute 200 million euros.
The billionaire Pinault family of France has already pledged 100 million euros, or $113 million, to the effort, and the family of Bernard Arnault, owners of the luxury goods group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, plan to contribute 200 million euros, Agence-France Presse reported. Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the Paris firefighters, said Tuesday morning that the fire had been extinguished but that firefighters were still looking for any “residual” flames that might need to be put out.
Mr. Plus, speaking to reporters near Notre-Dame, said experts were now going to examine the building’s structure to see how weakened it was.
Notre-Dame, which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries on the foundations of an earlier church and Roman ramparts on an island in the Seine, is a globally recognized symbol of France, visited by about 13 million people a year.Notre-Dame, which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries on the foundations of an earlier church and Roman ramparts on an island in the Seine, is a globally recognized symbol of France, visited by about 13 million people a year.
Stunned Paris residents and visitors watched as the cathedral, with its famous flying buttresses built to support the relatively thin and tall walls of its era, burned six days before Easter Sunday services were to be held. Stunned Parisians and visitors watched as the cathedral, with its famous flying buttresses built to support the relatively thin and tall walls of its era, burned six days before Easter Sunday services were to be held.
[As a French landmark went up in flames, the symbolism for the troubled country was hard to miss, our architecture critic writes.][As a French landmark went up in flames, the symbolism for the troubled country was hard to miss, our architecture critic writes.]
Officials released new details of the fire late Monday, with the Paris fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, saying it started in the attic at 6:30 p.m. More than nine hours later, the authorities said the fire was “under control,” but that a hole in the timber roof left by the cathedral’s fallen spire continued burning into Tuesday morning. Hundreds of bystanders gathered near Notre-Dame on Tuesday morning, many struggling to fathom what had happened. “I was stunned when I came to see the fire last night, and I’m still so shocked this morning,” Serge Roger, a 67-year-old retired Parisian, said as he watched firefighters spray water on the cathedral. Some went in and out of the building, while others pumped water from the Seine.
The cathedral’s rector, Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, said the fire appeared to have started in an interior network of wooden beams, many dating to the Middle Ages and nicknamed “the forest.” When tears started to fill his eyes, Pascale Defranqui, 59, gave him some ashes that she had collected near the cathedral the previous evening. Like Mr. Roger, she said she had struggled to sleep. She cycled around the cathedral at dawn on Tuesday, she said, to pay tribute to “the most beautiful lady of Paris, still standing.”
“We Parisians need to talk about what happened to Notre-Dame, because we love it, we know it, it’s part of our daily lives,” Ms. Defranqui said. She had studied the cathedral’s architecture in art history classes at the Louvre, she said, and would marvel at its towers on her way back from the museum to her apartment on the Île Saint-Louis, the island next to Île de la Cité, where Notre-Dame is located.
“I’m not sure I want to know what happened,” Ms. Defranqui said. “I just want to see it renovated as quickly as possible.”
Officials released new details of the fire late Monday, with the Paris fire chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, saying it started in the attic at 6:30 p.m. The cathedral’s rector, Msgr. Patrick Chauvet, said the fire appeared to have started in an interior network of wooden beams, many dating to the Middle Ages and nicknamed “the forest.”
In addition to damaging the building itself, the fire tore through the cathedral’s roof, and put at risk its relics and stained-glass windows, with panes held together by lead that melts at high temperatures. While one treasure, a relic of the crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion, was saved, the status of other historic items is unclear.In addition to damaging the building itself, the fire tore through the cathedral’s roof, and put at risk its relics and stained-glass windows, with panes held together by lead that melts at high temperatures. While one treasure, a relic of the crown of thorns said to have been worn by Jesus Christ during his crucifixion, was saved, the status of other historic items is unclear.
[The blaze threatened the cathedral’s vast collection of Christian art and relics.][The blaze threatened the cathedral’s vast collection of Christian art and relics.]
The architect who oversaw work on the cathedral in the 1980s and 1990s said he believed much of the building and its furnishings could be saved. “The stone vaulting acted like a firewall and it kept the worst heat away,” said the architect, Bernard Fonquernie.The architect who oversaw work on the cathedral in the 1980s and 1990s said he believed much of the building and its furnishings could be saved. “The stone vaulting acted like a firewall and it kept the worst heat away,” said the architect, Bernard Fonquernie.
But the roof, a vast wooden framework covered with sheets of lead, appeared to be largely gone, he said. Earlier tests on the roof showed that the wooden frame was for the most part the same oak and chestnut structure constructed by the very first builders, Mr. Fonquernie said.But the roof, a vast wooden framework covered with sheets of lead, appeared to be largely gone, he said. Earlier tests on the roof showed that the wooden frame was for the most part the same oak and chestnut structure constructed by the very first builders, Mr. Fonquernie said.
It lasted so long because the roof was regularly repaired and watertight. But that meant the wood beneath was very dry and could burn easily, he said.It lasted so long because the roof was regularly repaired and watertight. But that meant the wood beneath was very dry and could burn easily, he said.
Officials said they did not yet know what had caused the fire, which is now under investigation. Two police officers and one firefighter were slightly injured, but no one was killed, officials said.Officials said they did not yet know what had caused the fire, which is now under investigation. Two police officers and one firefighter were slightly injured, but no one was killed, officials said.
[Here’s what we know and don’t know about the fire.][Here’s what we know and don’t know about the fire.]
Two years ago, a spokesman for the cathedral said it was badly in need of an extensive makeover estimated to cost nearly $180 million. Much of the limestone exterior was eroded, with pieces dislodged by the wind, said the spokesman, André Finot.Two years ago, a spokesman for the cathedral said it was badly in need of an extensive makeover estimated to cost nearly $180 million. Much of the limestone exterior was eroded, with pieces dislodged by the wind, said the spokesman, André Finot.
The cathedral is covered in scaffolding while undergoing restoration work, which fire experts said can expose aging houses of worship to risky open flames or sparks from equipment.The cathedral is covered in scaffolding while undergoing restoration work, which fire experts said can expose aging houses of worship to risky open flames or sparks from equipment.
“And now it’s gone, perhaps due to carelessness,” Mr. Fonquernie said. “Working with heat, as they did, next to so much old dry wood requires extreme care.”“And now it’s gone, perhaps due to carelessness,” Mr. Fonquernie said. “Working with heat, as they did, next to so much old dry wood requires extreme care.”