French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday pledged to rebuild the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral within five years — while a spokesman for the Paris landmark estimated it wouldn’t reopen to the public for at least three years.
“We will rebuild Notre Dame cathedral, we will make it even more beautiful than before,” Macron said in a televised address.
“I want to achieve this within the next five years.”
Macron’s remarks came a day after a fire erupted at the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral Monday, toppling the building’s spire and blazing through its roof.
Asked when the house of worship would be open to the public again, a spokesman estimated three years.
“I don’t know, maybe not before three years, I believe. We need to create a new roof,” Andrew Finot, head of communications for Notre Dame, told ABC News.
Finot said he got a quick look inside the cathedral after the blaze, and saw that the “entire roof has disappeared” and that there was still water on the floor from the firefighters’ efforts to extinguish the inferno.
He added that 80% of the priceless artifacts inside the cathedral were saved by firefighters, staffers and government workers.
In the day since the fire, some of France’s richest citizens have pledged hundreds of millions of euros to the reconstruction effort. The total pledged reached $700 million on Tuesday, according to CNN.
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