Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France has been deemed “structurally sound” after a fire roared through it Monday night.
According to The New York Times, as authorities begin a “long and complex investigation” into the blaze, the nearly 850-year-old cathedral is “structurally sound.” It had previously been reported that the cathedral’s two historic bell towers had been saved.
Paris prosecutor Rémy Heitz stated the first fire alarm went off at around 6:20 p.m. local time, though no fires were found at the time. Shortly after, at 6:43 p.m., the second alarm sounded, and fire was discovered in the wooden framework of the attic. The flames quickly spread, engulfing the historic landmark and sending plumes of smoke billowing from the ceiling, which was followed only moments after by rising flames.
As Parisians gathered in the streets to watch and sing hymns, hundreds of firefighters battled the growing blaze.
On Tuesday morning, hours after the fire first broke out, a spokesman for the Paris fire service said that “the entire fire is out," and that the emergency services were currently "surveying the movement of the structures and extinguishing smoldering residues."
It is believed that continued renovation work on the building had sparked the fire, though authorities are currently investigating to determine an exact cause.
Although “structurally sound,” it is not without severe damage. According to the outlet, the fire that swept through the iconic landmark not only caused the famous spire to collapse, but also left three “holes” in the vaulted ceiling. The full extent of damage, including the loss of any precious items homed at the building, is not yet known.
Addressing the nation Monday night, French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to “rebuild” the nearly 900-year-old cathedral.
“I'm telling you all tonight – we will rebuild this cathedral together,” he said, according to CBS News. “This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders.”
French billionaire Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault, the 70-year-old chairman and chief operating officer of LVMH, has pledged over $226 million to help repair the damaged structure, writing in a statement that he and his family “are committed to asset with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, symbol of France, its heritage and its unity.”0comments
Salma Hayek‘s husband François-Henri Pinault, has also pledged more than $113 million to the cause.
Built over the course of two centuries and completed in 1345, the Notre Dame Cathedral was considered the “heart of Paris,” and was France’s most-visited landmark, seeing millions of visitors every year.