Notre Dame cathedral fire: Before and after photos of fire damage

PARIS -- French President Emmanuel Macron pledged Tuesday to rebuild Paris' beloved Notre Dame Cathedral "even more beautifully" after a raging fire destroyed its spire and its roof but spared most of the structure, including the church's twin medieval bell towers.





Macron said he wanted to see the renovation of the beloved Roman Catholic architectural landmark completed within five years.

"We have so much to rebuild," Macron said in a televised address to the nation. "We will rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral even more beautifully. We can do it, and once again, we will mobilize (to do so)."

Authorities consider the fire an accident, possibly as a result of restoration work at the global architectural treasure that survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated in the blaze on the second day of Holy Week.

Despite extensive damage, many of the cathedral's treasures were saved, including Notre Dame's famous rose windows, although they are not out of danger.

Paris Firefighters' spokesman Lt.-Col. Gabriel Plus said that even though they are in good condition, a "threat" continues to the gables, or support walls, because of the heavy stone statues perched on top of them.

"The roof no longer holds (the gables) up. They are holding up all by themselves," he said, adding that some statues must be removed to lessen the weight on the gables.

Scaffolding that had been erected for a renovation of the spire and roof must also be properly removed because of its weight and because it is now "crucially deformed," he added.

The cathedral is still being monitored closely by firefighters and experts to determine how much damage the structure suffered and what needs to be dismantled to avoid collapse.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.