French contractors including Vinci and Bouygues have vowed to assist the effort to rebuild the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, France, after it was gutted in a catastrophic fire earlier this week.
Bouygues has pledged €10M (£8.5M) to the programme as well as pledging to “assemble the craftsmen” needed to restore the structure.
Meanwhile, Vinci has also said it will provide “part of the financing” and has called on “all” French construction firms to “join forces” to carry out the repairs.
The full extent of the damage has yet to be revealed. The city’s fire brigade confirmed that two thirds of the roof had been “ravaged” by the fire by the city’s fire brigade. The 12th century cathedral’s 96m spire also toppled during the blaze on Monday evening.
A Vinci spokesperson urged the French heritage foundation (The Fondation du Patrimoine) to round up French construction, engineering and renovation firms in an “industry-wide skills sponsorship drive”.
“The partial destruction of Notre Dame is an unqualified tragedy. The 13th century wooden beams holding up the roof will never be replaced. But the part of Notre Dame that has survived the fire must be safeguarded,” the spokesperson added.
An investigation of the causes of the fire is currently underway in Paris, and prosecutors have confirmed that workers from roofing specialist contractor Le Bras Frères have been questioned.
Le Bras Frères had begun work to restore the Notre-Dame spire and was due to be on site for up to four years along with Europe Scaffolding, who had just erected 250t of scaffolding around the catherdral, along with a lift shaft for workers.
Prosecutors said they had not ruled out any cause of the fire, and confirmed that they were investigating the restoration works.
Work of Our Lady Foundation director Eric Fischer said it would take “decades” to rebuild the damaged sections of the Notre-Dame.
“The damage will be significant. But we are lucky in France to still have a network of excellent heritage restoration companies, whether small-time artisans or bigger groups,” he told AFP.
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