After firefighters spent almost nine hours battling the flames inside of the beloved Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris, officials say that the majority of the building’s most hallowed structures and artifacts have been preserved.
According to a statement from the Parisian fire brigade, “the structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been safeguarded, thanks to the combined action of the different services of the State committed to our side.”
The blaze was extinguished yesterday evening thanks to the work of 400 firefighters and police officers, only three of whom were injured by the incident. Investigators have stated that the fire was likely caused by accident, rather than criminal motivation or arson.
The fire burned down the spire and roof of the cathedral, but historians breathed a sigh of relief upon discovering that all three of the building’s iconic Rose Windows, which date back to the 13th century, had survived the inferno.
The cathedral’s towers, golden altar and crucifix made it through the fire as well. Though there are still some relics that remain unaccounted for, the Pompiers Paris fire brigade say that the bulk of the artifacts inside of the building have been saved.
“I want to say thank you to Pompiers Paris, they saved the towers. I could not imagine Paris without the Notre Dame towers,” city Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter. “As early as last night, we immediately made Saint Jean Hall available at the Hôtel de Ville so that the works could be protected, such as the crown of thorns and the Saint-Louis tunic.”
Cette cathédrale Notre-Dame, nous la rebâtirons. Tous ensemble. C’est une part de notre destin français. Je m’y engage : dès demain une souscription nationale sera lancée, et bien au-delà de nos frontières.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
Furthermore, several French billionaires and organizations have already pledged over $700 million to restore the cathedral to its former glory.
Francois-Henri Pinault, the chairman of Gucci’s parent company Kering, stated that he and his father would be donating $113 million for the cathedral’s restoration.
The family behind the luxury goods company LVMH has also pledged $226 million towards rebuilding the structure.
“The … LVMH Group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are committed to assist with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity,” said the family in a statement.
1/2 #Intervention #NotreDame : la structure de la cathédrale est sauvée et les principales œuvres d’art ont été sauvegardées, grâce à l'action combinée des différents services de l'État engagés à nos côtés. pic.twitter.com/0GJZKAdYdM— Pompiers de Paris (@PompiersParis) April 16, 2019
The Bettencourt Meyers family of L’Oreal cosmetics has also issued a statement announcing their own $226 million donation as well.
In addition to several other multi-million dollar donations, Forbes says that Paris officials will also be drawing on the city’s $90 million fund used for restoring the city’s churches.
2/2 Après plus de 9h de combats acharnés, près de 400 pompiers de Paris sont venus à bout de l’effroyable l’incendie. 2 policiers et un sapeur-pompier ont été légèrement blessés. pic.twitter.com/re9ZR0KB3W— Pompiers de Paris (@PompiersParis) April 16, 2019
Mayor Hidalgo tweeted: “I will propose that we organize in the coming weeks a major international conference of donors, which I am ready to welcome to the City Hall, with patrons from around the world, to raise the funds necessary for the restoration.
“The Paris Fund I created in 2015 will also be mobilized and the City will contribute to this renovation,” she added.
Vive La France! Be Sure And Share The Good News With Your Friends On Social Media – Feature photo by David Merrett, CC