French firefighters have contained the blaze which engulfed Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral and saved its two iconic towers, but authorities state two-thirds of the building’s roof has been destroyed.
Jean-Claude Gallet, commander of the city’s fire brigade, said firefighters stopped the blaze from spreading to the cathedral’s northern belfry after flames “ravaged” the structure.
Gallet said one firefighter was injured in the operation.
“We are now in a time of cooling but both towers of the cathedral are safe,” said secretary to the interior minister Laurent Nunez.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke from the scene, confirming “the worst has been avoided even though the battle is not completely won.”
In addition to destroying much of the roof, the fire claimed the spire atop the 800-year-old structure.
While the damage to the structure is devastating, there were particular fears for the irreplaceable artworks and religious artefacts stored within the cathedral.
Those fears were partially alleviated when the city’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the collection had been transported to safety.
Macron has pledged to restore the structure, which has long served as an emblem of French culture.
“I say to you very solemnly tonight, this cathedral, we will rebuild it,” he said.
French prosecutors are currently treating the blaze as accidental, having dismissed claims of arson.
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Image: Lafargue Raphael / ABACA / PA