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Pres Macron, French billionaire to rebuild fire-hit Notre-Dame de Paris

Paris Mayor says major works saved from fire damage; French gov't refuses Pres Trump's 'flying tankers' idea to put out blaze

Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire on 15 April.
Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images
Notre-Dame de Paris caught fire on 15 April.

French billionaire François-Henri Pinault has reportedly committed $113m towards the reconstruction of Notre-Dame de Paris – a historic structure that was ravaged by a blaze on 15 April which resulted in the collapse of its roof and iconic spire – while French President Emmanuel Macron promised to launch an international fundraising campaign for the rebuilding activity.

The Pinault family, through its investment firm Artémis, will reportedly support the reconstruction of the cathedral. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, ongoing renovation work at the structure was blamed for having started the fire, but these suggestions have yet to be formally confirmed.

Citing AFP, a report by BFMTV stated that chairman Pinault described the fire as a “tragedy”, adding that he and his father – François Pinault, the founder of Artémis – would participate in the rebuilding job.

Meanwhile, President Macron said Notre-Dame de Paris, “the epicentre of our lives”, would be rebuilt through a fundraising campaign.

“Notre-Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people. But tonight, I’d like to speak of hope too,” he said, according to a report by Reuters.

“Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”

Renovation works may have caused the Notre-Dame fire [Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images].

Four-hundred firefighters were deployed to the scene of Notre-Dame de Paris’s fire, which was said to have started accidently at around 7pm in the areas where its renovation is ongoing.

Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, commended these rescue efforts, adding in a tweet that several major artworks and pieces of significance had been retrieved and were being held “in a safe place”.

World leaders have come together to express sorrow regarding the damage caused to the iconic architectural structure by the fire, with UK Prime Minister Theresa May tweeting in support of Parisians and the operation’s firefighters.

Prior to her tweet, US President Donald Trump had suggested the use of “flying tankers” to put out the blaze, but this suggestion was swiftly rejected by  French civil security agency, Sécurité Civile, which tweeted – echoing similar views by numerous other fire safety and architecture experts – that top-down pressure could lead Notre-Dame de Paris’s structure to collapse. 

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