Donors have already pledged hundreds of millions to rebuild Notre Dame

Donors have already pledged hundreds of millions to rebuild Notre Dame
Donors have already pledged hundreds of millions to rebuild Notre Dame
less than 1 min ago Donors pledge hundreds of millions to rebuild effort

Damage to the exterior of the Cathedral on Tuesday morning.

Damage to the exterior of the Cathedral on Tuesday morning.BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, says she is planning a "major international conference of donors" to raise money for the effort to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral -- as multimillionaires continue to pledge vast sums towards its reconstruction.

The family of Bernard Arnault, the French business magnate who owns luxury goods and house LVMH, has promised to contribute €200 million ($226 million).

In a statement, the family called Notre Dame an "extraordinary cathedral" and "a symbol of France, its heritage and its unity."

The donation comes after French billionaire François Pinault pledged €100 million ($113 million) to the reconstruction of the fire-ravaged cathedral.

Hidalgo said on Twitter that she is ready to host a fundraising event at Paris City Hall, adding that the event would attract patrons from "all over the world."

The mayor

she will mobilize a fund she started for the city in 2015, and noted that the city has a budget of 80 million euros already in place for the restoration of its churches.

45 min ago Fire extinguished after nine hours

Firefighters have extinguished the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, after battling the blaze for nine hours, the city's fire brigade said earlier.

The fire broke out Monday evening and raged for several hours before 400 firefighters, working with skill and precision to avoid further damage to the medieval landmark, managed to bring it under control.

57 min ago Europe will help France rebuild, Tusk says

Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council, has called on all 28 member states of the European Union to help France rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral.

Tusk sent "words of comfort and solidarity" to the country. He referenced his own hometown of Gdańsk in Poland, which suffered heavy bombing during World War II.

1 hr 42 min ago Paris firefighters: Combined operation 'saved' cathedral and its artwork

The Paris Fire Brigade has tweeted that the stone construction of the cathedral has been "saved," as have the "main works of art" from the building.

In a two-part tweet, the fire service praised the cooperation of "different services" of the state, working together over nine hours to extinguish the inferno at one of Paris' most recognizable landmarks.

"The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main works of art have been put somewhere safe, thanks to the combined action of the different services of the State working together."

"After more than 9 hours of fierce fighting, nearly 400 firefighters from Paris extinguished the appalling fire. 2 policemen and a firefighter were slightly injured," a followup tweet read.

2 hr 6 min ago Hymn-singing Parisians perform moving street tribute to Notre Dame

A Twitter user who is in Paris for her honeymoon captured a group of Parisians singing hymns as they walked along a street on the banks of the Seine, close to Notre Dame Cathedral, even as operations to bring the fire under control continued.

The poster, Jordan Doyle, said that she took the video out of her hotel window, a stone's throw from the famed cathedral, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

"I’m devastated for the people of Paris. I was there on my honeymoon, and I just saw the cathedral for the first time yesterday morning."

She said the singing brought her out of her bed.

"I opened the window and immediately my eyes welled up. It was beautiful to see people coming together for their city and for Notre Dame. You could honestly feel their sadness. It really felt like they were serenading the building."

"They stayed there for a while, singing and applauding. It was surreal."

2 hr 31 min ago Ministry of Interior spokesman: Fire under control, experts to determine structural integrity

From Barbara Wojazer and Sandrine Amiel in Paris

Firefighters continue to work to extinguish the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. The fire is under control but there are "still outbreaks," a Ministry of the Interior spokesman said Tuesday morning.

Firefighters continue to work to extinguish the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. The fire is under control but there are "still outbreaks," a Ministry of the Interior spokesman said Tuesday morning. STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images

Laurent Nunez, French Secretary of State to the Ministry of Interior told reporters Tuesday morning that the fire which devastated Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral Monday was "under control" but has not been completely extinguished.

"There are still small outbreaks, the cooling off process is still underway, new outbreaks were reported and contained right away," he said.

"The risk of fire is now ruled out; now it's about the building, know how the structure will resist to this serious fire last night."

He said that there was a meeting of experts from the French architectural review board "to try and determine if the structure is stable and if the firemen can venture inside and continue their mission."

3 hr 1 min ago Investigation begins

The Paris Prosecutor’s office tells CNN that investigators have started to hear testimonies from construction workers working on the site.

Parts of the 850-year-old cathedral had been under renovation, but it is as yet unclear whether the upgrade work has a connection to the blaze, which began early Monday evening.

3 hr 17 min ago Paris mourns as Notre Dame smolders

Throughout the city, crowds of residents and tourists hugged one another as the fire raged on Monday evening, some singing hymns.

Others packed the banks of the Seine across from the Gothic masterpiece, hoping against hope that some 400 firefighters could prevent further damage. Still others held their heads in their hands, unable to watch.

While the magnificent edifice with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass draws tourists, art and architecture buffs from around the world, for generations of Catholics it has also been a place of pilgrimage and prayer.

"This can't be happening, it's breaking my heart," one woman muttered.

"Not Notre Dame. Not Notre Dame."

Read more here.

3 hr 28 min ago Why the Notre Dame fire was so hard to put out

Firefighters stand near the fire. 

Firefighters stand near the fire. JB Autissier/Panoramic/Reuters

Notre Dame's centuries-old wooden roof beams, stone exterior and soaring Gothic architecture made Monday's blaze especially difficult to tackle and Paris firefighters deserve praise for their efforts, experts say.

The biggest problem, experts say, was accessing the wooden ceiling beams which formed the frame for the soaring roof.

"It was pretty evident in the first 20 minutes that it was going to be a bad fire," said Gregg Favre, a former firefighter with the St. Louis Fire Department in the United States.

Aerial options like the one suggested by US President Donald  were considered unrealistic.

"Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!" said in a tweet.

But the French civil security agency, Securite Civile, said in a tweet -- in English, an apparent response to 's suggestion -- that any aerial water dumping could "weaken the structure of Notre-Dame and result in collateral damage to the buildings in the vicinity."

The spire and most of the roof of the centuries-old cathedral have been destroyed, but the two bell towers and the main edifice were saved.

Video released by the French Interior Ministry showed the scale of the

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