Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

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1:45 p.m. ET, April 16, 2019

Restoration expert says it will take 10 to 15 years to fully restore Notre Dame Cathedral

From CNN's Samuel Quashie-Idun in London


The full restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral will take between “10 to 15 years," according to Frédéric Létoffé, the head of the group of companies for the Restoration of Historic Monuments.

Létoffé, speaking at a news conference in Paris on Tuesday, said the site will need to be secured before any restoration work can take place.

“This will require a lot of work since, beyond shoring and reinforcement, it will be necessary to build a scaffolding with an umbrella to be able to cover the entire roof that went missing, to ensure protection against weathering" he said.

12:27 p.m. ET, April 16, 2019

How one artist responded to the cathedral fire

As Notre Dame Cathedral burned, Cristina Correa Freile channeled her own emotion by imagining how the church's most famous fictional denizen — its hunchbacked bell ringer — might have responded to the calamity.

She drew Quasimodo, the Disney cartoon version, embracing the iconic Paris landmark — complete with twin towers. She posted her drawing Monday on Instagram, where it quickly went viral and earned more than 160,000 social media supporters.

"I made (this) because of what's happening right now," said the architect and illustrator, who lives in Ecuador. "The world embraces Notre Dame right now."

The physically deformed Quasimodo is the central character of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which tells the tale of his obsession with the beautiful Esmeralda. The story was told on the big screen in 1939, then Disney remade it in 1996 as a cartoon.

1:22 p.m. ET, April 16, 2019

Trump calls Macron after the fire


President Trump spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call this morning to offer condolences for the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

"The United States stands with French citizens, the city of Paris, and the millions of visitors from around the world who have sought solace in that iconic structure," she said.

Sanders added:

"The Cathedral has served as a spiritual home for almost a millennium, and we are saddened to witness the damage to this architectural masterpiece. Notre Dame will continue to serve as a symbol of France, including its freedom of religion and democracy. France is the oldest ally of the United States, and we remember with grateful hearts the tolling of Notre Dame’s bells on September 12, 2001, in solemn recognition of the tragic September 11th attacks on American soil. Those bells will sound again. We stand with France today and offer our assistance in the rehabilitation of this irreplaceable symbol of Western civilization. Vive la France!"
1:17 p.m. ET, April 16, 2019

There are no trees in France that are big enough to rebuild Notre Dame's roof

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad

Trees used to make the wood frame were likely 300 or 400 years old.
Trees used to make the wood frame were likely 300 or 400 years old. From Notre Dame De Paris/Maurice de Sully association

There are not any trees in France that are large enough to replace the ancient Beachwood beams that burned in the Notre Dame fire, Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of the French Heritage Foundation (Fondation du Patrimoine), told CNN.

“The roof was made of beechwood beams over 800 years ago. There are no longer trees of that size in France,” he said. 

Asked if any trees in Europe were big enough for the beams and could be imported to Paris, he said, “I don’t know.”

11:44 a.m. ET, April 16, 2019

See the charred inside of Notre Dame Cathedral

Remarkable photos and video show the scale of the damage inside the iconic 850-year-old Gothic cathedral in Paris, which was partially destroyed in a fire.


11:44 a.m. ET, April 16, 2019

Conspiracies about the Notre Dame fire are making rounds on the internet

From CNN's Gianluca Mezzofiore

Even before the blaze at Notre Dame was extinguished, conspiracy theories and fake news about the fire had ricocheted around the internet.

The most egregious examples of disinformation originated in the darker corners of the internet, but many found bigger audiences on social media.

And big social media companies appeared to struggle to contain the spread of the content.

Here are some of those conspiracy theories:

  • One prominent conspiracy theory revolved around the claim that the fire had been deliberately started. InfoWars, a fringe website which is known for spreading conspiracy theories, published a story which suggested the fire had been intentionally set.The claim was based on a single erroneous tweet, which was later deleted. The InfoWars story remains online. 
  • On Twitter, a fake account made to look like one operated by CNN claimed the fire was caused by terrorism. The account, which was created in April, was only removed several hours after CNN publicly called out Twitter over it.
  • One strategy appeared to be the use of old and unrelated articles about Catholic churches being desecrated in France to insinuate that the Notre Dame fire was an intentional act.

What we know: Paris Prosecutor Rémy Heitz said that while the cause of the fire has not been established, it was likely "accidental." "Nothing shows that it's an intentional act" he said in a press conference on Tuesday

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan contributed to this report.

11:44 a.m. ET, April 16, 2019

Donations for the reconstruction of Notre Dame top $700 million

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau and Chris Liakos in London


The total amount of donations by French business leaders and businesses for the reconstruction of Notre Dame confirmed by CNN so far has topped $700 million.

The latest donations of $28 million come from French billionaires Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, Martin and Olivier Bouygues and the Crédit Agricole — Pays de France Foundation.

In a statement, French bank Crédit Agricole said it was "sharing the collective emotion caused by the damage to this jewel of our heritage."

11:34 a.m. ET, April 16, 2019

London's Westminster Abbey bells to ring tonight in solidarity with French


The bells on Westminster Abbey in London will ring out at 5:43 p.m. local time to mark the moment the Notre Dame fire began, UK Prime Minister Theresa May said.

She said the move would “underline our solidarity with France and her people."

“And later this week, on Maundy Thursday, bells will ring at cathedrals and churches across England,” May said.

May said experts from Historic England will coordinate with their colleagues across the area to make an offer of support once the full extent of the damage has been assessed.

“Notre-Dame is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world — a symbol of France and the French people, and cherished across the globe. The images of destruction we saw last night were truly heart-rending,” she said.

She continued: “When it comes to the task of rebuilding, French craftsmen and women are among the finest in the world. As they prepare to embark on this daunting task, we stand ready to offer any UK experience and expertise that could be helpful in the work that lies ahead to restore this magnificent cathedral.”

10:39 a.m. ET, April 16, 2019

Teams still surveying structural risk at Notre Dame

Workers will attempt to preserve the infrastructure of the Notre Dame over the next 48 hours, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters outside the cathedral.

There is still structural risk to the building, which is being surveyed, he said.

Castaner added that it will take an enormous amount of time to reconstruct the building, saying that the process would take "days (and) months."

He said there was no suggestion that the cause was anything other than accidental, but confirmed that an investigation is underway to identify the precise reason for the blaze.