The structure of the Notre Dame Cathedral has been saved from a massive fire that had threatened to gut the 800-year-old beloved landmark, fire officials said late Monday.
“The worst has been avoided, although the battle is not yet totally won,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, who had rushed to the scene. Macron pledged to rebuild the church and said a national fundraising campaign would be launched Tuesday.
The blaze collapsed the cathedral’s spire and spread to one of its rectangular towers. But Paris Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the church’s main structure had been saved after firefighters prevented the flames from spreading to the northern belfry. Gallet said the emergency response had evolved into a monitoring and clean-up operation.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a tweet that historically significant artifacts and sacred items were saved from the fire.
"Thanks to the @PompiersParis, the police and the municipal agents," Hidalgo tweeted, "the Crown of Thorns, the Tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place."
The damage to the building, however, was extensive. "Two-thirds of the roofing has been ravaged,” and firefighters would work through the night to cool down the building, Gallet said.