An hour later the flames had raged through the roof, fanned by winds; the spire, constructed of wood and lead, was ablaze.
Crowds of tourists and Parisians watched in horror as the roof of the cathedral came crashing down to the ground. "We remember with grateful hearts the tolling of Notre Dame's bells on September 12, 2001, in solemn recognition of the tragic September 11th attacks on American soil".
"My father and myself have chose to release a sum of €100 million from our Artemis funds [the family holding company] to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre-Dame", Pinault said in a statement obtained by French newspaper Le Figaro.
"It was technically impossible, undoable and most of all would have been utterly useless" to douse the flames from the air, Bernier added. He added that workers were "surveying the movement" of the structure and the contents in it.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the investigation would be "long and complex".
This screen shot made on April 16, 2019 shows French President Emmanuel Macron addressing the nation on French private TV channel TF1 during which he vows to rebuild Notre Dame de Paris Cathedral within five years, a day after a fire erupted in the 850-year-old landmark.
A communique said the Arnault family was "in solidarity with this national tragedy, and join in the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, a symbol of France, of its heritage and togetherness". Artemis is the holding company owning auction house Christie's and the main shareholder of luxury fashion houses, including Gucci.
According to one tally, the amount pledged crossed $700 million. (Rob McInnes Postcard Collection/Winnipeg Public Library) The front wall of St. Boniface Cathedral still stands, although its bell towers collapsed - a fate avoided by the twin bell towers of Notre Dame.
The full extent of the damage has yet to be assessed, but the world-famous icon of Gothic architecture potentially faces many years of costly repairs to restore its roof and spire, which collapsed in dramatic fashion on Monday evening. "Paris is disfigured, the city will never be like it was before", one man (not pictured) told French news agency AFP.
The heritage charity Fondation du Patrimoine said it was too early to estimate the cost of the damages.
Sadness which Mulaire now sees Parisians feeling in the aftermath of this latest blaze, a blaze which has many cherishing memories of seeing the Notre Dame Cathedral.
As monetary pledges rack up to contribute to France's plan to rebuild the iconic cathedral, the Quebec government said on Tuesday it is also ready to lend a helping hand. Many priceless artworks and cultural relics were taken out before being burned. "I love you Paris", 52-year-old wrote Hayek wrote on Instagram.
The statues removed last week, three-metre-tall copper figures which looked over the city from Notre Dame's 96-metre-high peak, were sent to southwestern France for work that is part of a $6.8 million (6 million euro) renovation project. A 100m crane lowered the copper statues representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists onto a lorry.