Notre Dame fire: Welsh churches toll bells for Paris cathedral

Notre Dame fire: Welsh churches toll bells for Paris cathedral

A massive blaze ravaged Paris' 850-year-old cathedral earlier this week, with its spire and roof collapsing.

First responders also rescued numerous important relics and works of art inside the cathedral.

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild Notre Dame within five years "even more handsome than before". He also met privately with some of the men and women gathered there who had helped quell the blaze.

"Almost from the very first moments we heard the bad news that Notre-Dame was ablaze, New Yorkers of all faiths, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, reached out to me to express their sorrow at the devastation, and ask how they could help", Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the NY archbishop, said in a statement.

Later, Paris City Hall will hold a ceremony in the firefighters' honor, with a Bach violin concert, two giant banners strung from the monumental city headquarters and readings from Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

The rector of Notre Dame Cathedral has also proposed building a small, temporary church on the plaza outside the monument so that the faithful have a place of worship while the cathedral is closed for renovation.

The cathedral's famous 8000-pipe organ survived the blaze, which destroyed most of the roof and caused the spire's collapse. Although the flames caused extensive damage, which will take years to fix, no one was killed.

"We stand in solidarity with our fellow Parisians and everyone around the world moved by the devastation the fire caused", the company said. Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz told reporters Tuesday that it was "likely accidental".

Workers are securing the support structure above one of Notre Dame's famed rose windows with wooden planks after this week's devastating fire.

Mr Macron wants to rebuild the cathedral within five years - in time for the 2024 summer Olympics that Paris is hosting - but experts say the vast scale of the work to be done could easily take 15 years, since it will take months, even years, just to figure out what should be done. Almost $1 billion in donations from around the world has already been pledged to aid the restoration process.

"So today we are announcing from Saint Patrick's to Notre-Dame, a way for people from NY and around the country to contribute in helping rebuild this magnificent house of faith and monument to western civilization", Dolan said, noting that $110,000 had already been collected. Many have burned or been destroyed by wars, revolutions or the faults of men.

A judicial police official told The Associated Press that investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral Wednesday but don't have a green light to search Notre Dame's charred interior because of ongoing safety hazards.

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