Notre Dame cathedral staff 'took 23 minutes to discover catastrophic fire'

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The Notre Dame Cathedral spire collapses during a fire in Paris, France April 15, 2019 in this image taken from social media video. We rebuilt Warsaw from the ruins ourselves. "All together", Macron said late Monday, adding that the cathedral is "part of our French destiny". The cathedral was undergoing restoration works when the fire started.

The week before the fire, religious statues set atop the cathedral were removed for the first time in more than 100 years as part of the restoration project.

Renovation work on the steeple, where workers were replacing its lead covering, is widely suspected to have caused the inferno after the blaze broke out in an area under scaffolding.

"Nothing indicates this was a deliberate act", Heitz told reporters, adding that 50 investigators had been assigned to what he expected to be a "long and complex" case.

"My father and myself have made a decision to release a sum of €100 million from our Artemis funds [the family holding company] to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame", Pinault said in a statement obtained by French newspaper Le Figaro.

"When the tower, that central tower fell, it was a moan and a gasp from the crowd in Paris, exactly as there was in St. Boniface when the bell towers collapsed", Mailhot said Tuesday morning.

A firefighter suffered injuries during the blaze, which at one point threatened to bring down one of the two monumental towers on the western facade of the cathedral that is visited by 13 million tourists each year. She said the items "will be quickly transferred to national museums".

Hours after President Macron - whose government had previously refused to spend more than a few million euros repairing the 855-year-old cathedral - launched an appeal for funds while it was still ablaze, nearly €700 million had been raised. She proposed an global donor conference in Paris and the Heritage Fund set up an worldwide fundraiser for private donations for the reconstruction.

As France woke up in collective sadness, its richest businessman, Bernard Arnault, and his luxury goods group LVMH pledged $226 million (200 million euros) for the reconstruction. His son, François-Henri Pinault, 56, who heads the family firm, said: "It's the nation".

Additional money for the restoration will also come from a church fund created by Hidalgo several years ago that has a budget of 80 million euros.

This 1911 photo shows the Notre Dame Cathedral, on the island called Ile de la Cite in Paris.

As Notre Dame burned, words of grief poured in from around the globe and from world leaders.

"One of the most moving things was to see all the French people who were there that were singing French hymns and songs, it was deeply moving", he said.

A spokesman for Paris firefighters says that "the entire fire is out" at Notre Dame cathedral.

The Foreign Ministry in Cairo also expressed "great regret and pain" over the fire, citing Notre Dame's "historical and culture value" for France and world heritage. "It's in our nature to mourn when we see history lost - but it's also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can".

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