An investigation into the cause of the fire is already underway as the French President promises to restore the iconic cathedral.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on April 17, 2019

Emanuel Macron has set an ambitious timeline for rebuilding Notre Dame, vowing to complete the work within five years.

Benefactors have already pledged hundreds of millions of euros to help with the rebuild.

Macron vows to rebuild the cathedral “even more beautiful than it was”

In a live televised address, Macron said the rebuild would be a “national project”.

“The fire at Notre Dame reminds us that our history never stops,” he said.

“Everything that makes France material and spiritual is alive and for this reason it is fragile and we must not forget that.

“Yes we will build the cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful than it was. But this must be done in five years. We can do that.

“I share your pain, but I also share your hope. We now have to act, and we will act, and we will succeed.”

Wealthy benefactors, including Bernard Arnault, head of LVMH, pledged more than US$700 million (650 million Euro) in the hours after Macron’s speech.

Some elements of the cathedral may prove irreplaceable. The internal structure used some timber that was centuries old.

The building reportedly did not have a sprinkler system in the roof to slow the spread of fire.

In other ways, the cathedral’s age helped it survive the fire. Authorities say the stone vaults acted as a buffer to the flames after the timber roof burned quickly.

Still, the rebuild will be long, expensive and hugely complex. A story in The Atlantic has suggested that detailed laser scans of the building, completed by Paul Blaer and the late Andrew Tallon, could be useful in reconstructing the cathedral. Their work captured the architectural icon in painstaking detail; it contains more than one billion data points.

Scores of large-scale infrastructure projects are already underway in Paris, ahead of the city hosting the 2024 Olympic Games.

Hundreds of firefighters fought tirelessly to save the cathedral’s main structure

Firefighters worked around the clock to ensure the main stone structure and the two towers were not destroyed.
In all, the fire burned for 15 hours.

Much of the roof and the spire were lost. The blaze triggered an outpouring of sorrow worldwide.

It is not yet known what caused the fire. Authorities are treating the blaze as an accident.

Notre Dame Heritage Director Laurent Prades said the cathedral’s high altar sustained damage when the spire was toppled. Firefighters were able to save many of the antiquities and relics though.

“All the 18th-century steles, the pietas, frescoes, chapels and the big organ are fine,” he said.

Three large stained-glass rose windows would have to be assessed for heat damage, Prades added.