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Cathedral saved within crucial half hour

April 17, 2019 5:07 am

Saving France’s 850-year-old Notre-Dame cathedral came down to a crucial time window of 15-30 minutes, France’s deputy interior minister has said.

Laurent Nuñez praised the “courage and determination” of firefighters who “risked their own lives” to salvage the building’s stone structure and its two towers.

The fire ravaged the cathedral’s roof and caused its spire to collapse.

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French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild it within five years.

The cause of the blaze is unclear.

“We now know it all came down to 15-30 minutes,” Mr Nuñez said, adding that police and fire services would spend the next 48 hours assessing the security and safety of the structure.

Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz said his office was “favouring the theory of an accident”, but had assigned 50 people to investigate the origin of the fire.

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