The world has been devastated by the Notre Dame fire

The world has been devastated by the Notre Dame fire
Firefighters declared success in a more than 12-hour battle to extinguish an inferno engulfing the iconic Notre Dame cathedral that claimed its spire and roof, but spared its bell towers and the purported Crown of Christ. Pic: Christophe Petit Tesson, AP

A CORK man working in Paris said the city, France, and the world have been devastated by the Notre Dame cathedral fire.

James Creedon from Bishopstown works with international television station France 24 and is based in the French capital.

Speaking to The Echo he said that while there were no deaths from the fire there was an outpouring of grief.

“This is a place very dear not just to French people, but to people the world over,” he said.

This picture provided by the Paris Fire Brigade shows fire fighters spraying water inside Notre Dame cathedral. Pic: Benoit Moser, BSPP via AP
This picture provided by the Paris Fire Brigade shows fire fighters spraying water inside Notre Dame cathedral. Pic: Benoit Moser, BSPP via AP

“I walk in front of Notre Dame every day on the way to work and always stop and admire it. It’s such a striking and beautiful building and I think French gothic architecture has a particular beauty. Even for those who aren’t traditionally religious, the building has aspects of beauty that any person can connect with.

“People were somewhat surprised to realise they had an emotional connection to this place. Often-just like with connections to people, you don’t realise how strong that connection is until it’s threatened and might disappear. We often say of human relationships, ‘I wish I’d valued that person while I had them’. It’s similar with Notre Dame. It was always there in the background.

“Perhaps we didn’t value it for all that it was — a symbol of the heart of Paris and the heart of France.

“I think people are mindful that the worst has been avoided. The structure is in place and it can be rebuilt,” said James.

Experts have said there is little firefighters could have done any sooner to control the blaze that tore through the historic cathedral.

The combination of a structure that is more than 850 years old, built with heavy timber construction and soaring open spaces, and lacking sophisticated fire protection systems led to flames spreading quickly. This jeopardised the entire cathedral before firefighters brought the blaze under control.

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a fire which destroyed much of the building on Monday evening. Pic: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a fire which destroyed much of the building on Monday evening. Pic: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Two of France’s richest men, long locked in a public rivalry, are once again pitted against each other — this time over flashy and competing donations to rebuild Notre Dame.

Billionaire luxury tycoons, Bernard Arnault, 70, and Francois Pinault, 82, are among France’s fiercest business competitors and patrons.

Their rivalry reached dramatic heights when it was announced that Mr Pinault, his son, and their company Artemis would immediately donate €100m to help finance renovations to Notre Dame after it was seriously damaged in the inferno.

Hours later, Mr Arnault shot back with an announcement that he, his family, and his luxury company LVMH would pledge double that amount, €200m, for the restoration of the cathedral that was immortalised in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, an eternal story of obsession and jealousy.

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