Around world, 'our hearts ache' at Notre Dame Cathedral fire

Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris. (AP

Bonventre said they didn't see Notre Dame Cathedral catch on fire, they were back with their host families when they got the news.

Speaking Tuesday, he said the cathedral's roof can not 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".

The French Prime Minster stated the worst is over, and the country will rebuild.

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"Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame". The cause is yet unknown but officials said it was possibly linked to ongoing renovation work.

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As the spire fell, the sky lit orange, acrid smoke rose in plumes and flames shot out the roof behind the nave.

Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the structure had been saved after firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading to the northern belfry.

"My father and I have made a decision to release from Artémis funds a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame", Pinault said in a statement. Gallet said firefighters would keep working overnight to cool down the building. "The greatest tribute any Christian can make to Notre Dame is to follow Jesus ever more closely and to reflect his love to everyone".

Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine river, its architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses.

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