17 Apr 2019

Notre Dame fire: Experts assess damage, ready to rebuild

From Morning Report, 8:13 am on 17 April 2019

Experts have begun assessing the extent of the damage to the Notre Dame cathedral, and are working to determine what can be salvaged . It took 15 hours to extinguish the fire. There has been major damage to much of the roof but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved.

French business leaders have already pledged more than a billion NZ dollars for the reconstruction of the cathedral. Billionaire François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Kering group that owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion brands, has pledged €100m. Another €200m was pledged by Bernard Arnault's family and their company LVMH - a business empire which includes Louis Vuitton and Sephora. French cosmetics giant L'Oreal and its founding Bettencourt family have promised to give a further €200m. Total, the French oil giant, has pledged €100m. Air France said in a statement that the company would offer free flights to anyone involved in the reconstruction.

Vigils were held in the streets of Paris overnight as the fire continued to burn.