Pope tells of sadness over Notre Dame fire

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media captionA look inside fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral

A plan to safeguard the masterpieces and relics inside was quickly put into action once the alert was raised.

The spire was completely destroyed in the blaze that tore through the 850-year-old Gothic building's roof.

France's deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez said saving the cathedral came down to a key timeframe of between 15 and 30 minutes, praising the work of firefighters who contained the blaze.

Winnipegger Mariette Mulaire, the president and CEO of the World Trade Centre, an organization which works to help Manitoba companies grow their businesses internationally, has visited Paris several times and has toured the Notre Dame Cathedral.

The Notre Dame cathedral was built over centuries, starting in 1163.

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation would be "long and complex".

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Moreover, while the world-famous building sustained extensive damage in the fire, with both its roof and spire destroyed, all precious artefacts and artworks were salvaged from the cathedral.

Parisian Beatrice Champetier arrived to lay flowers - it was the least she could do, she said, for a building that "is our life".

Construction on Notre Dame - French for "Our Lady" - began in the 12th century and continued for almost 200 years. François-Henri Pinault initially said he would give 100 million euros, or about $113 million. Tim Cook, Apple CEO, also tweeted a promise that Cupertino will be helping finance the rebuilding efforts.

The impressive organ dating to the 1730s and boasting an estimated 8,000 pipes did not burn and is intact, but nobody knows yet whether it was damaged by the heat or water. An independent non-profit heritage group, the Fondation du Patrimoine, said it is still too early to estimate the cost of the damage. The St. Boniface Cathedral fire was sparked in the attic by one of the workers repairing the roof.

A total of 880 million euro (£760 million) has already been donated by business leaders and ordinary worshippers towards the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after it was ravaged by fire.

Specialised craftsmen and rare materials are expected to be needed to restore Notre Dame, which is seen as an emblem of France and, more broadly, a symbol of Western civilisation that has survived revolutions and war.

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"We will rebuild the cathedral even more beautifully and I want it to be finished within five years", Macron said from the Elysee Palace.

"We will rebuild it".

But experts had warned a full restoration will take many years.

He has heard others in Winnipeg speak of the hurt they feel at the loss of Notre Dame, but he also thinks his parishioners will feel a sense of gratitude as they celebrate Easter this weekend.

On Thursday, the public got a first ground-level look at the statues, representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists, when a huge crane whisked them into the air before lowering them onto a truck.

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