• Notre Dame Cathedral saved from total destruction after massive fire

    By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk , Associated Press

    Updated:

    Paris fire officials saved the city’s iconic Notre Dame de Paris cathedral from total destruction on Monday after a massive fire engulfed the 865-year-old Catholic church.

    Photos: After Notre Dame fire, Paris surveys damage to historic cathedral

    The soaring Paris landmark was under renovations when the fire collapsed its 315-foot spire and threatened one of the world's greatest architectural treasures as locals and tourists watched aghast from the streets.

    The basic structure of the building was saved, fire officials said, according to the BBC, but the historic church suffered extensive damages. 

    Photos: Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral on fire

    Photos: Notre Dame in detail before fire

    The French president pledged to rebuild a cathedral that he called "a part of us" and appealed for help to do so. The 12th-century church is home to relics, stained glass and other incalculable works of art and is a leading tourist attraction, immortalized by Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

    The Paris prosecutor's office said it was treating the fire as an accident, ruling out arson and possible terror-related motives, at least for now. French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire was "potentially linked" to a 6 million euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the spire and its 500 tons of wood and 250 tons of lead.

    Despite the dramatic image of the flaming cathedral, no one was killed. One firefighter was injured, among some 400 who battled the flames for hours before finally extinguishing them. Firefighters continued working through the night to cool the building and secure the monument, as residual sparks sprinkled down from the gaping hole where the spire used to be.

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    Update 5:30 a.m. The Archbishop of Paris told France's BFM TV that Notre Dame’s three “rose” stained-glass windows were safe after a fire ravaged the cathedral Monday.

    The windows are the centerpiece of Notre Dame’s collection of stained-glass windows. According to CNN, they date back to the 13th century.

     

     

    Update 5:04 a.m.  Paris prosecutor Remy Heintz said officials still believe that Monday’s blaze was accidental and have not found any evidence of arson, The Associated Press reported Tuesday

    Meanwhile, Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said the cathedral’s massive organ survived the fire.

     

     

    Video also circulated on social media showing the interior of the cathedral following the fire. 

     

     

    Update 1:08 a.m.  A Paris Fire Brigade spokesman told reporters Tuesday morning that “the entire fire is out.”

    Authorities are “surveying the movement of the structures and extinguishing smoldering residues,” Gabriel Plus said, according to The Associated Press.

    Update 12:32 a.m.  April 16: Another French billionaire has pledged a massive donation for Notre Dame’s reconstruction.

    According to The Associated Press, Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, said he and his company will donate 200 million euros – or about $226 million – toward the efforts to rebuild following Monday’s devastating fire.

     

     

    Update 7:45 p.m. As French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, French billionaire François-Henri Pinault pledged the equivalent of $113 million toward that goal, according to Axios and other news outlets.

    French billionaire François-Henri Pinault has pledged €100 million (US$113 million) toward rebuilding the fire-ravaged Paris landmark Notre Dame Cathedralhttps://t.co/F8yhFCYxun

    — Axios (@axios) April 16, 2019

    Pinault is the CEO of the French luxury group Kering and Rennes soccer club.

    Update 5:00 p.m. Firefighters in Paris have saved the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral  from total destruction, according to the city officials.

    Reuters is reporting the mayor of Paris said firefighters are optimistic they can save the cathedral’s two main towers.

    The cause of the fire, which is under investigation, may be linked to the renovation of the spire, which collapsed as it caught fire, according to The Associated Press.

    The cause of the fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral could be linked to the ongoing renovation of the church's spire. https://t.co/Em8Qv8EzcJ pic.twitter.com/vK5F6GBB87

    — The Associated Press (@AP) April 16, 2019

    French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the landmark.

    “This Notre-Dame cathedral, we will rebuild it. All together. It's part of our French destiny. I commit myself: tomorrow a national subscription will be launched, and well beyond our borders,” he said in a social media post Monday evening.

    The cause of the fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral could be linked to the ongoing renovation of the church's spire. https://t.co/Em8Qv8EzcJ pic.twitter.com/vK5F6GBB87

    — The Associated Press (@AP) April 16, 2019

    Update 4:45 p.m. EDT April 15:  As hundreds of firefighters battle the blaze at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral, the city’s fire chief said it’s unclear if crews will be able  to prevent the fire from spreading and causing more destruction, according to The Associated Press.

    “We are not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading” to Notre Dame’s second tower and belfry,” Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said outside the legendary cathedral.

    The church’s 315-foot spire collapsed earlier.

    As the cathedral continues to burn, firefighters are trying to save the building and are also in the process of evacuating the most precious artwork inside, according to media reports.

    Update 4 p.m. EDT April 15: The Vatican released a statement Monday as a “terrible fire” continued to burn through the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

    “The Holy See has seen with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, (a) symbol of Christianity in France and in the world,” the statement said. Officials added that the Vatican is praying for firefighters “and those who are doing everything possible to confront this dramatic situation.”

    Update 3:55 p.m. EDT April 15: After President Donald Trump suggested that French authorities fight a blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral with flying water tankers, a French agency responded that doing so could heavily damage the centuries-old building.

    “(A) drop of water by air on this type of building could indeed result in the collapse of the entire structure, officials with the French civil security agency said in a tweet, according to CNN. “The weight of the water and the intensity of the drop at low altitude could indeed weaken the structure of Notre Dame and result in collateral damage to the buildings in the vicinity.”

    Earlier Monday, Trump said in a tweet that it was “so horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.”

    “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” he wrote. “Must act quickly!”

    Update 3:15 p.m. EDT April 15: Authorities with France's Interior Ministry said 400 firefighters have been mobilized to battle the blaze that broke out Monday at Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral.

    Authorities continued working to put out the flames Monday night.

    Update 3 p.m. EDT April 15: French President Emmanuel Macron is on the scene of a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France 24 reported.

    In a French language tweet shared earlier Monday, Macron said the fire was bringing out the "emotion of a whole nation." "Like all our country men, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn," he wrote.

    Update 2:40 p.m. EDT April 15: Photos from Paris showed people watching in disbelief as firefighters battled a blaze Monday at the Notre Dame de Paris cathedral.

    Update 2:30 p.m. EDT April 15: A spokesman for Notre Dame told French media the fire had spread to the entirety of the church’s wooden interior.

    “Everything is burning,” Notre Dame spokesman Andrew Finot said, according to The Associated Press. “Nothing will remain from the frame.”

    Authorities were working Monday to salvage artwork kept in the historic cathedral.

    It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, although officials told BBC News it might have been connected to renovation work.

    Authorities said they were evacuating the area around Notre Dame on Monday as the fire continued to burn.

    Update 2:15 p.m. EDT April 15: Police said no deaths have been reported in connection to Monday’s fire at Notre Dame de Paris cathedral, according to The Associated Press. Authorities did not immediately say where any injuries were reported.

    Update 2:05 p.m. EDT April 15: Videos and photos from Paris showed the cathedral’s spire fall as the fire continued to burn Monday.

    Original report: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed in a tweet around 7:15 p.m. local time that authorities were responding to “a terrible fire” at Notre Dame.

    Images and videos shared on social media showed flames licking the cathedral.

    It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, although officials told BBC News it might have been connected to renovation work.

    In a tweet as the fire raged, President Donald Trump said it was “so horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.”

    “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” he wrote. Must act quickly!”

    The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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