President Macron vows to rebuild Notre-Dame

2019-04-16 at 10:55

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame after a major fire partially destroyed the Paris landmark.

Firefighters managed to save the 850-year-old Gothic building’s main stone structure, including its two towers, but the spire and roof collapsed.

The fire was declared under control almost nine hours after it started. Officials said the cause was not yet clear but it could be linked to extensive renovation works under way.

Paris prosecutor’s office said it was currently being investigated as an accident.

A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze.

Visiting the site on last night, Macron said the “worst had been avoided” with the preservation of the cathedral’s main structure as he pledged to launch an international fundraising scheme for the reconstruction.

Macron said, “We’ll rebuild this cathedral all together and it’s undoubtedly part of the French destiny and the project we’ll have for the coming years.”

“That’s what the French expect and because it’s what our history deserves,” he added, visibly emotional, calling it a “terrible tragedy”.

Billionaire François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Kering group that owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion brands, has already pledged $113m towards rebuilding Notre-Dame.

The French charity Fondation du Patrimoine is launching an international appeal for funds for the cathedral, a Unesco World Heritage site.