The Latest on the fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):
The Paris prosecutor’s office is urging those making donations for the reconstruction of Notre Dame cathedral to be careful about scams aimed at extorting their money.
It says the Fondation du Patrimoine, one of the organizations collecting funds to rebuild the iconic monument, has filed a lawsuit after individuals “fraudulently” solicited money using its name through emails or phone calls. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation centered on the charge of conspiracy to defraud.
Officials say $1 billion in donations has already been pledged to rebuild Notre Dame, sent in by people ranging from ordinary citizens to billionaires.
Top French art conservation officials say the works inside Notre Dame suffered no major damage in the fire that devastated the cathedral, and the pieces have been removed from the building for their protection.
Isabelle Palot-Frossat of the center for research at the French Museums said neither fire, nor soot, nor water reached inside the cathedral’s walls. The fierce fire Monday evening was concentrated on the cathedral’s roof and destroyed its famous spire.
Judith Kagan of the French Culture Ministry said that many of the artworks span several meters (yards) across and were being transported to a secure location.
Frank Riester, France’s culture minister, said the cathedral’s vaulted ceiling is still “in an emergency situation.” Officials will have to carefully remove the debris that is weighing it down, cover the ceiling against the elements and dismantle the scaffolding that had topped the cathedral when it caught fire.
He said the building survey “will take several days or weeks.”
— This item has corrected the quote on soot to Isabelle Palot-Frossat.
The 180,000 bees kept in hives in Notre Dame Cathedral that were thought to have perished in this week’s fire have been discovered alive.
The monument’s beekeeper, Nicolas Geant, told the AP Friday: “I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral.”
Geant has looked after the bees since 2013 when they were installed on the lead roofing of the famed monument as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.
Geant explained the insects have no lungs. Instead of killing them, the carbon dioxide in the smoke puts them into a sedated state. He said when bees sense fire they “gorge themselves on honey” and protect their queen. He said European bees never abandon their hives.
The rector of Notre Dame says a “computer glitch” might have caused the fire that ravaged a large part of the cathedral this week.
Speaking during a meeting of local business owners, Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate on the glitch, adding that “we maybe find out what happened in two or three months.”
Le Parisien newspaper has reported that investigators are looking at whether the fire could have been linked to a computer glitch, or related to the temporary elevators used in the renovation work, among other things.
Chauvet added that investigators are still unable to access the cathedral’s nave for security reasons.
French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting officials from the United Nations’ cultural agency, where he is expected to set out ideas for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral.
He will meet with state delegates from UNESCO, which oversees global heritage issues, in the Elysee Palace Friday.
Macron’s push for a speedy rebuild indicates he wants the fire-ravaged monument’s reconstruction to be part of his legacy, and is seizing the moment to try to move on from the divisive yellow vest protests. His initial wish for it to be rebuilt in just five years was met with incredulity.
Macron had been due to deliver an uneasy speech Monday setting out long-awaited plans to quell anti-government protests that have marred his presidency, but it was postponed after the fire broke out.
Read and watch all AP coverage of the Notre Dame fire at https://apnews.com/NotreDameCathedral