Notre Dame Fire: Main Structure, Works of Art Saved

Flames rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris.
Flames rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris. // AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Following yesterday’s fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, the historic building’s main structure has been saved, along with a number of other important works of art, the Paris Fire Department reports. The Archaeological Crypt of the Ile de la Cité will be closed Tuesday, April 16, due to the incident. 

According to the Fire Department, containing the blaze took more than nine hours and 400 firefighters. The department was able to save the main structure of the cathedral, including its iconic bell towers, as well as many of the main works of art that had been inside. The fire did, however, cause the collapse of the cathedral’s central spire. 

According to Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, the artworks saved from the fire were sheltered overnight at the Hôtel de Ville and have now been taken in by State services. 

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With the fire out, attention has turned to rebuilding efforts. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to launch a “national subscription” to aid in the cathedral’s restoration efforts, and donations have begun pouring in from all over the world. 

“Parisians, French and visitors from around the world [are] affected but united in their desire to rebuild Notre Dame and bequeath their history to generations to come,” Atout France wrote on the organization’s official Twitter account

CNN reports that French businesspeople and companies have pledged over $450 million to the rebuilding efforts, with the largest donation coming from LVMH Group, which owns the luxury brands Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Givenchy. Other donations have come from the company and family of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault; the Pinault family, who own Ponant, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent; French oil and gas company Total; and tech and consulting firm Capgemini

Investigators told USA Today that there is no evidence that the fire was caused by arson. While the investigation will take some time, officials believe the fire was an accident, potentially linked to a $6.8 million renovation project that had been underway on the cathedral to restore a number of cracks in the stonework. Prosecutors plan to interview workers from five companies that had been hired to do work on the cathedral’s roof. 

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