Paris was burning quite literally on Monday after the attic of Notre-Dame cathedral caught on fire. Billowing Smoke and tall blazes were seen from around the city as citizens watched the famous landmark in horror. The fire is said to have spread from the attic, causing the cathedral’s spire, one of Paris’s most iconic architectural features, to collapse. A few hours later the entire roof had been turned to ash. Onlookers stood near the cathedral weeping.
On Monday the attic of Notre Dame Cathedral lit up in flames and the entire world watched in horror – still there are messages of hope
“Notre-Dame is aflame,” tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron. “Great emotion for the whole nation. Our thoughts go out to all Catholics and to the French people. Like all of my fellow citizens, I am sad to see this part of us burn tonight.” As thoughts and prayers poured out to the people of Paris, there were also many messages of hope rising from the ashes.
The cause of the fire is still unknown but the Paris prosecutor has opened up an investigation. While the cathedral’s spire was turned to ash many relics and features of the tower were saved, such as the bell towers and Crown of Thorns. The cathedral was under a $12.4-million renovation at the time and surrounded by scaffolding. It took four hundred firefighters and 18 fire hoses to contain the blazes. “The fire affected two-thirds of the roof, which has collapsed, as well as the spire,” said Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet
The French president has continued to send positive messages to his citizens throughout the disaster and has promised that the iconic cathedral will rise again. “Although the battle is not yet totally won,” President Macron vowed to the people, “we will rebuild Notre-Dame together.”
Notre Dame was completed in 1345 and has survived wars and invasions – historians point out this will not be the first rebuild
And while it’s ok to mourn the damages from the fire – there are several reasons to be hopeful about its future
The main structure of the building was saved
The French firefighting chief told reporters that the main structure of the cathedral had been saved, “We can consider that the two towers of the north belfry Notre-Dame have been saved,” Paris fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet, told reporters late on Monday. “The structure of Our Lady is saved as a whole.”
The scaffolding presented a unique issue during the fire, “One sensitive point is the central scaffolding, which is going to require several hours before it can be cooled down completely,” said Gallet, “There is still a risk that this scaffolding could partially collapse but we can consider that the structure of Notre-Dame is saved and preserved in its entirety.”
Tuesday morning firefighters inspected the cathedral interior further to find the structure mostly intact. Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the Paris fire services, told journalists: “Throughout the night our work consisted of keeping an eye on the residue so the fire didn’t reignite and overseeing the structure of the building to make sure it didn’t collapse. We had to ensure the towers were not touched and this is the case.” Plus went on to add, “We are satisfied and grateful that in risking their lives [firefighters] safeguarded the structure of the two belfries, the towers – and the works of art. Now I can confirm the fire is completely out.”
They are 100 percent going to rebuild it
President Macron has promised his citizens that they will rebuild and multiple pledges have already been made by multiple wealthy donors. The French president said a “national undertaking” would be launched, that went, “far beyond our borders, we will appeal to the greatest talents… who will contribute, and we will rebuild.”
The north rose window, one its iconic features, survived
The gorgeous stained-glass trio of rose windows in Notre Dame date back to the 13th century. They were among the many artifacts that were saved during the fire. According to the Archbishop of Paris, all three remained intact. The panes on the rose glass depict religious stories from both the old and new testiment.
The famous crucifix survived the blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral
Standing amongst the rubble a cross was left standing, unharmed from the blazes. For religious and some non-religious people, the message of hope was not lost.
The damage inside Notre Dame was limited and there was no fire in the nave at all. Even the candles didn’t melt
Salma Hayek’s billionaire husband Francois-Henri Pinault pledged 100 million euros to help rebuild Notre-Dame
French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault, chief executive of the Kering group, which owns the Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga fashion houses, pledged more than $113 million dollars towards the cathedral reconstruction. “Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back as soon as possible to this jewel of our heritage,” said Pinault.
Billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault – the richest person in Europe – and his LVMH luxury goods group, which includes Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Givenchy, are donating 200 million euros to help restore the cathedral
Bernard Arnault, another french magnate joins Pinault in pledging towards the reconstruction efforts. “The Arnault family and 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. Since these initial pledges, more wealthy donors and companies have donated to the cause, including Total (TOT), a French oil and gas company, which has pledged €100 million, Henry Kravis, co-founder of private equity group KKR, who has pledged $10 million, and Tech and consulting firm Capgemini which has promised €1 million.
People have sent word’s of encouragement from all around the world