Thursday, 25 April, 2019

How to help rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral

The Latest: Notre Dame’s organ survives the fire Watch: Senior figure calls on French Muslims to donate to Notre Dame reconstruction fund
Charles Bowen | 17 April, 2019, 13:06

Firefighters are still examining damage and shoring up the structure after Mondays fire collapsed the cathedrals spire and destroyed the roof.

The French president has said he would seek help from the "greatest talents" in the world to rebuild Notre Dame, and many governments said they were considering contributions to what would be a significant architectural undertaking.

Hopes for a rebuild of the iconic cathedral are strong among Parisians the ABC spoke with.

Notre Dame's famed stained-glass rose windows and most of its many religious relics appeared to have escaped the worst as well, easing fears for the fate of the vast trove of artworks in the gothic cathedral.

Macron's defiant comments indicated he wants the reconstruction of the cathedral to be completed by the time Paris hosts the Olympic Games in 2024.

Hundreds of firefighters worked through the night to bring the fire under control.

Some of the works were being transferred from City Hall to the Louvre, where they will be dehumidified, protected and eventually restored. "We got a cathedral back and we're glad to have it", he said.

Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire described authorities' "enormous relief" at the salvaging of pieces such as the Crown, which were transported to a "secret location" after the fire. Among those questioned are workers at the five construction companies involved in work renovating the church spire and roof that had been under way when the fire broke out.

At dawn, the twin 69-metre towers swarmed with building specialists and architects.

With almost 8,000 pipes, some dating back to the 1700s, Notre Dame's master organ is one of the largest in the world.

"The entire fire is out", declared Paris firefighters' spokesman Gabriel Plus, adding that workers were "surveying the movement of structures and extinguishing smouldering residues".

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Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation would be "long and complex". Shortly after, it crumpled and fell through the cathedral roof.

The exact cause of the blaze wasn't known, but French media quoted the fire brigade as saying it was "potentially linked" to a 6 million euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church's spire and its 250 tons of lead. "The majesty of Notre Dame - the history, artistry, and spirituality - took our breath away, lifting us to a higher understanding of who we are and who we can be", she tweeted.

This screen shot made on April 16, 2019 shows French President Emmanuel Macron addressing the nation on French private TV channel TF1 during which he vows to rebuild Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral within five years, a day after a fire erupted in the 850-year-old landmark.

LVMH called the cathedral a "symbol of France, its heritage and its unity".

French multinational companies are among those who have pledged money to restore the medieval cathedral, which was engulfed by flames on Monday following a likely accident in its loft.

According to cathedral guides, the rooster had acted as "spiritual lightening rod" to protect the Notre Dame faithful.

"Releasing even one load from a Canadair water bomber used to fight forest fires on Notre Dame would be "the equivalent of dropping three tonnes of concrete at 250 kilometres per hour (155mph)" on" the ancient monument.

The heritage charity Fondation du Patrimoine said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damages. The cathedral was undergoing restoration works when the fire started.

Specialised craftsmen and rare materials are expected to be needed to restore Notre Dame, which is seen as an emblem of France and, more broadly, a symbol of Western civilisation that has survived revolutions and war.

"What we saw last night in Paris was our capacity to mobilize and to unite", Macron said, hailing France as a nation of "builders". "I love you Paris", 52-year-old wrote Hayek wrote on Instagram.

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