$1 billion raised to rebuild Paris' Notre Dame after fire

The Notre Dame blaze has led to people sharing memories of the building. Even just before the fire

- A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky.

One of the cathedral's most precious objects, a relic purported to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ on the cross, was whisked away to a secure facility.

Victor Hugo bemoaned its pitiful neglect in the 1830s, but decades later it was given new life as its flying buttresses were renovated and a new wooden spire was installed. This engraving from 1800 shows the cathedral before the famous spire was added in the 19th century. But no one can tell whether it has been damaged by water or will need to be restored.

Mr Prades added the three large stained-glass rose windows had not been destroyed, though they may have been damaged by the heat and will be assessed by an expert.

Authorities have said the cause of the fire was accidental, possibly related to renovation work.

As unforgiving flames razed the roof of Notre Dame cathedral on Monday, Parisians gasped and wept as they watched from along the Seine river.

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", he said, adding the roof restoration work would have to use new technologies.

Tourist Brooke Windsor was there moments before the flames started.

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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. "We will act, and we will succeed".

A public appeal for funds drew immediate support from French billionaires and other private donors, as well as from countries including Germany, Italy and Russian Federation, which offered expertise.

"We are united in sorrow". Notre Dame is part of a UNESCO heritage site.

A total of 880 million euro ($A1.4 billion) has already been donated by business leaders and ordinary worshippers towards the restoration of the fire-ravaged church.

The cathedral's roof was built using a lattice of giant beams cut from trees in primeval forests in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Czech President Milos Zeman also offered the expertise of his nation's restoration specialists, including teams that work at the Prague Castle, the historic seat of Czech presidency, which includes St. Vitus Cathedral, a Gothic architectural masterpiece. "The spire ... is what we saw from a distance in Paris", she told the ABC.

Martin Kealy, a fire consultant and managing director of MKA Fire, says that on the whole, such buildings pose a relatively low fire risk, because most of the materials at ground level are things like stone floors and very thick timber pews, which would not easily ignite.

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