Published: Thu, April 18, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Fire guts Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, Macron pledges to rebuild

Fire guts Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, Macron pledges to rebuild

It's not yet known what started the fire, but it may be linked to renovations.

Investigators have already questioned almost 30 people, said a Paris judicial police official, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to comment on an ongoing probe.

Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very centre of Paris.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo described it as a "terrible fire" and urged people at the scene to stay safe. "Tonight firefighters are fighting heroically against the fire to preserve what they can". About 700 people were inside the building when the fire broke out and all got escaped unscathed, though one firefighter who was seriously injured.

French prosecutors said the blaze was being treated as an "involuntary" fire, indicating that foul play was ruled out for now.

"They were placed at the summit of the church in 1935 by the archbishop of Paris, to protect the building", he said in a statement.

"When the spire fell, the crowd reacted with "ohhh" and 'ahh, ' but I guess a lot of them were just shocked silently", Binétruy said.

Macron said he wanted to see the renovation of the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark completed within five years. It's been there for so many years and in a few minutes half of it disappeared ... insane.

"Standing here next to you, heartsick for Notre Dame.", he wrote, while British actor and DJ Idris Elba also shared his disbelief from California, after making his performance debut at the Coachella music festival over the weekend. In the three decades I spent in my native city, I can't have been inside Notre Dame more than three or four times - and then only with foreign visitors.

"It's awful. It's a symbol of Paris", Bukalski said.

"The history, the prayerfulness - for me, it's the center of worship", Baenziger said.

As the flames tore through the 12th-century cathedral, Spain's prime minister offered France the help of his country in the recovery. "Paris without the cathedral is not Paris anymore".

As the famed Cathedral of Notre Dame caught fire in Paris Monday, people in France are grieving.

"It has survived, and will survive", and actress Marlee Matlin shared, "So sad to see history burning in Paris so I'd like try my best with a French translator to convey my thoughts: J'envoie des prieres sinceres aux gens de france (I send honest prayers to the people of France)". "We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation", the Vatican said.

Notre Dame, or Our Lady, is considered the most famous Gothic cathedral ever built.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre Dame cathedral a "symbol of European culture" as the blaze raged. 12 million people reportedly visit the monument every year, making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paris.

Even as it fell into disrepair over the centuries, it was the site of Napoleon Bonaparte's coronation as emperor in 1804.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama posted an old photo of himself, his wife Michelle and their two daughters lighting candles in the cathedral.

Macron cancelled an address to the nation that he had been due to give later on Monday evening.

"On behalf of the State of Israel, I would like to express my deepest solidarity with France and the French nation over the bad fire at Notre Dame, a world symbol of civilization", he said.

"Noble in architecture and art, it has always been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God", he said.

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