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Arson Ruled Out in Notre Dame Fire for Now

Compiled from Associated Press reports
Updated: April 16, 2019 10:02 AM

PARIS (AP) - The Paris prosecutor says there's no evidence of arson in the Notre Dame fire and that they're working on the assumption that the blaze was an accident. Remy Heitz says the investigation will be "long and complex."

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Speaking Tuesday, after the blaze was put out, he said five investigators are working on the probe. He says they will be interviewing workers from five companies that had been hired to work on renovations to the cathedral's roof, which was being repaired before the fire and which is where the flames first broke out.

Paris' deputy mayor says Notre Dame's organ, among the world's most famous and biggest, remains intact. Emmanuel Gregoire told BFMTV Tuesday that a plan to protect Notre Dame's treasures was rapidly and successfully activated.

The impressive organ dates to the 1730s and was constructed by Francois Thierry. It boasts an estimated 8,000 pipes.

Gregoire also described "enormous relief" at the salvaging of pieces such as the purported Crown of Christ.

Experts are assessing the blackened shell of the cathedral to establish next steps to save what remains of the building.

A French cultural heritage expert says France no longer has trees big enough to replace ancient wooden beams that burned in the fire.

Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, told France Info radio that the wooden roof that went up in flames was built with beams more than 800 years ago from primal forests.

Speaking Tuesday, he said the cathedral's roof cannot be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because "we don't, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century."

He said the restoration work will have to use new technologies to rebuild the roof.

Funding for the reconstruction is piling up at a spectacular rate, with two of France's richest families together quickly pledging 300 million euros.

Businessman Francois-Henri Pinault and his billionaire father Francois Pinault said they were immediately giving 100 million euros from their company, Artemis, to help finance repairs to the cathedral devastated by fire Monday night.

A statement from Francois-Henri Pinault said: "This tragedy impacts all French people" and "everyone wants to restore life as quickly as possible to this jewel of our heritage."

That donation was then trumped by French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH, which pledged 200 million euros.

LVMH called the cathedral a "symbol of France, its heritage and its unity."

Credits

Compiled from Associated Press reports

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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