Notre Dame Fire 'Likely Caused' by Short-Circuit

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Almost $1 billion has already poured in from ordinary worshippers and businessmen around the world to restore the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, after the French president set a controversial five-year deadline to get the work done, according to The Associated Press. "I want to accomplish this reconstruction within the next five years".

Hundreds of millions of euros has been pledged by businessmen and philanthropists to rebuild Notre Dame.

"These things can be repaired", said Michael Angell, church operations director at Ecclesiastical Insurance Group, which has helped protect churches against fire risks for more than 130 years and doesn't insure Notre Dame.

"The worst has been avoided, but the battle isn't fully won yet", Macron said. The cardinal underscored that France is economically "self-sufficient" and that the entrance fee to visit Notre Dame was intended "as a fund for eventual situations and restorations".

Catholics and tourists who can no longer approach Notre-Dame after Monday's devastating fire will be consoled by an "ephemeral cathedral" made of wood until the stricken cathedral reopens, its chief priest has announced.

Mr Macron said the firefighters will receive an Honour Medal for their courage and devotion.

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The roof was destroyed, but Notre Dame's famous bell towers, rose windows, organ, and precious artworks were saved. The paper said he climbed on altars to remove large paintings, but that he was especially proud "to have removed Jesus" from the Cathedral - a reference to the Catholic belief that consecrated hosts are the body of Christ.

Fire chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier told France Info on Thursday that his own team arrived on the heels of the salvaging, and praised the action "to preserve this extraordinary relic, this patrimony of humanity". Thought for all Catholics and for all French.

Benedicte Contamin, who came to see the cathedral Thursday, said she's sad but grateful it's still there.

Paris City Hall also held a ceremony in the firefighters' honor Thursday afternoon, with a Bach violin concert, two giant banners strung from the monumental city headquarters and readings from Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

"The Notre Dame [cathedral] is among the most handsome of Paris's symbols and of France's in general, but also one of the most important to any cultured person", Rivlin said in a tweet.