Notre Dame Cathedral fire ‘fully extinguished’
Hundreds of firefighters tackled the blaze at the Paris landmark through the night.
Firefighters have fully extinguished a catastrophic fire at Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral that left a nation mourning the devastation of its cultural and historic “epicentre”.
Just under 400 firefighters tackled the historic blaze through the night, battling to stop it wreaking complete destruction of the treasured facade after flames torched the roof, sending its spire crashing to the ground before crowds of horrified Parisians.
The tragedy has prompted a global outpouring of support, with leaders pledging to help France rebuild the smouldering ruin.
Speaking in front of the cathedral, junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said: “The task overnight was to bring the fire under control so it doesn’t re-start.
The Paris Fire Service, Pompiers de Paris, said on Twitter that Notre Dame’s structure and artworks had been saved.
It said: “The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been safeguarded, thanks to the combined action of the various state services committed to our side.”
Officials consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work taking place at the global architectural treasure.
Scores of Parisians gathered on the banks of the Seine as the sun rose on Tuesday morning to survey the damage to their beloved landmark.
Daniel Etieve, 70, said: “It’s a very sad picture. For over 800 years this cathedral has been passed from generation to generation.
“Now I question what state we will pass it on to the generations after us.
A 55-year-old art historian, who gave his name as Fabrice, said it was “hard to believe that this is happening in Paris – part of ourselves has been destroyed”. he said.
“I always go for a walk in this area every day and come to see Notre Dame. It’s like coming to visit an elderly parent.”
Hundreds of millions of euros have been pledged to rebuild the national monument, while French president Emmanuel Macron said a national subscription would be launched when he visited the scene on Monday night.
French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH have pledged 200 million euro (£173 million) towards the reconstruction of Notre Dame, following a reported 100 million euro (£86 million) donation from another French billionaire, Francois Pinault.
And the UK ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn, said the country stands ready to help with efforts to restore the building.
Meanwhile, European Council president Donald Tusk called on the EU’s member countries to help, saying the site in Paris is a symbol of what binds Europe together.
Mr Tusk told representatives that the blaze reminds Europeans of “how much we can lose”.
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