Return to Transcripts main page

HALA GORANI TONIGHT

French President Addresses Nation After Notre Dame Fire; Macron Promises Cathedral Will Be Rebuilt; African Union Totally Rejects Military Takeover of Sudan; Redacted Mueller Report to Be Released Thursday. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired April 16, 2019 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:00:00] HALA GORANI, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Hala Gorani. Tonight Paris is in recovery mode today, a day after that devastating fire

at Notre Dame Cathedral. It's been over 24 hours since the flames broke out at the top of the Cathedral destroying its iconic spire and roof. The

President of France is addressing the nation this evening. Let's go to that live.

EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): We entered this Cathedral with all its history of thousands of years. The firefighters

managed to extinguish the fire in spite of the risks, they were there exploring the roof which had been devastated completely. But what we have

noticed tonight in Paris, that's what happened. This ability to mobilize, be together and win. Throughout our history, we have built towns, courts,

churches.

Many have been burned due to revolutions, wars, due to mankind and each time we have rebuilt them. The fire of Notre Dame recalls that history is

there. And that we will always have trials to overcome and whatever we believe whether indestructible, but what France does, materially,

spiritually is alive in spite of what is fragile.

And we cannot forget this and it's up to us, the French men and women who can be reassured throughout time this continuity which makes this nation of

France and this evening directly to you, I'm addressing you for this reason and what our duty is which is what we need to remember. And I am committed

in the forthcoming days to react together but today is not the time.

Tomorrow there is other issues, politics, we all have things to do. But the time hasn't come yet. Remember these few hours, what happened last

night, throughout the night, this morning, everybody made an effort to do something, the firefighters did their best to save the building. The

Parisians have been comforted and people were very touched.

The whole world and photographs were shown to the whole world and each one of us, everybody, has done what they could in their role, in their

position, and I say this this evening. We are those people of rebuilders, we are rebuilders. There's a great deal to be rebuilt. And we will make

the Cathedral of Notre Dame even more beautiful. We can do this. And we will mobilize everybody. After these periods of trial, there will be time

for reflection and then action.

[14:05:02] And we will not let things go. We will go forward in spite of pressure and sometimes impatience and people say it has to be done by that

date. But we have to administer things, be aware of our history of time, of our people, those men and women. I deeply believe that we are going to

change this disaster and work together and reflect we are going to change this disaster we are going to change this disaster and work together and

reflect deeply on what has happened, what we are and what we can do.

And become better. And find again the way towards our national project. A human project which is passionately French, French people, men and women,

and all you also foreigners, those who love France and Paris, what I'm telling you tonight, that I share your sorrow and I also share your hope.

Now we have something to do. We will act and react and we will succeed. Long live the Republic and long live France.

GORANI: There you have it, the French President addressing the nation. Remember he was supposed to address the nation yesterday, a major policy

address about the yellow vest movement in France that is still very much alive every Saturday, of course, smaller numbers of people, but in many

cases causing a lot of damage and derailing some of the reform proposals of the Macron government. Michael Holmes joins me in Paris, and Melissa Bell

is close to the scene of this fire. You heard Emmanuel Macron say we will make Notre Dame even more beautiful. But this is going to take a very,

very long time, Melissa.

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: That's right. These were not the circumstances under which Emmanuel Macron were due to address the country

yesterday. The message that he's given tonight very different as well. We've been expecting to hear measures that might calm the anger of the

yellow vests, Saturday after Saturday, even if their numbers had been dwindling.

This was a message really of gathering together in the wake of this terrible fire, a mess as you said of his sharing France's sorrow, but also

its hope. Really touching into something we felt very strongly over the last 24 or so hours here, ever since that fire broke out and the crowds

began to gather to watch it coming together. And this is something that the archbishops of France were saying this morning.

We should stop and remember that moment when we all come together, when people who don't know one another, stop to pray and chant and try to figure

out what it is that does bring them together. That was very much at the heart of the French President's message. Clearly those measures that he

had been due to announce, the measures that relate directly to that profound disquiet will have to wait.

But they will come. For now the moment didn't seem appropriate. It is really a time for thoughtfulness and for looking to what can be done about

this Cathedral in particular. And to speak to that emotion, Hala, we know earlier on the Cathedral of France rang their bells to mark that moment

when the fire broke out. We see that tremendous outpouring of emotion but also very concrete pledges of financing to try and help --

GORANI: Absolutely. And Michael Holmes, I just want to get to Michael Holmes. As we were all watching this fire, the relief is that the

structure is sound, but also that it appears as though this was an accidental fire and that it is possible to rebuild some of those sections

that were destroyed because initially, the worry was, the whole thing would collapse.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's one of those situations where this is a national tragedy. But it could have been worse. Let's remember

at the end of the day no lives were lost. The damage has been extraordinary.

[14:10:00] But the facade is still there as you pointed out, hearing Mr. Macron say we will rebuild and make it even more beautiful, how long that

will take, that's going to be an issue.

It could take 10 to 15 years. There are others who say get it done in two or three years. One interesting thing, in fact, the culture minister said

there are a couple of areas of the building that remain that they are worried about, structurally, and that they are concerned could potentially

collapse. They kept a kept of building nearby evacuated just in case, structurally, and that they are concerned structurally, and that they are

concerned could potentially collapse.

They kept a kept of building nearby evacuated just in case that happens. But there are some structural concerns but there is also some great relief

that what you see behind me, they started building this in 1160. Get your head around that and how important Notre Dame is to France in a cultural

identity sense. The very fact that you can see what you can see behind me is reassuring for a lot of people. And as Melissa was touching on then, a

lot of people are saying this is a time for people to come together here in France and unite behind getting Notre Dame back together.

GORANI: Sure. All these political divisions just for 24 hours so far, the country has mourned together, has chanted together, has in some cases for

the believers, prayed together that this building could be saved. This morning there was some measure as relief as we're saying that the structure

is sound. This is such a powerful story. I want to take a look at what we've seen. President Macron says despite all this damage, it could have

been much worse.

Architects say it won't be until Thursday before it's stable enough to enter and recover more artwork. And Melissa Bell shows us what was lost in

the fire with some exclusive footage from inside the Cathedral and what has so far been saved.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BELL: Day break in Paris, bringing the first images of the badly damaged Notre Dame Cathedral after a fire ripped through the catholic landmark,

stunning the city and the world. CNN obtaining this exclusive look inside the burnt-out Cathedral, a fire hose running, embers still falling from the

ceiling, rubble scattered across the floor and an apparent hole in the roof. Candles still burning from where visitors left them before the fire

began.

This haunting image showing smoke surrounding the altar and its cross illuminated and rows of pews and much of the nave appears to have survived.

Flames first seen leaping from the Cathedral's wooden roof just before 7:00 p.m. the Cathedral's rector tells CNN that the entire roof structure is

destroyed. The inferno filling the city sky with smoke and ash that rained down on thousands of onlookers who gathered on the street stunned as the

blaze gained strength.

JAMES JANEGA, WITNESS: We turned around and saw this fire. And we watched as the rest of Paris watched in silent shock as these flames just grew and

spread across the roof.

BELL: Sirens echoing through the silence as the fire engulfed the Cathedral's iconic spire. The 300-foot tall structure eventually

collapsing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard the tower fall. It was the worst sound and people screamed.

BELL: Nearly 400 firefighters battling the blaze working to save what was left of the structure and the treasured artifacts inside. Paris's mayor

tweeting that many of the priceless pieces including the Crown of Thorns were recovered successfully. French President Emmanuel Macron emotional as

he visited the historical Cathedral.

MACRON (through translator): So I say this very solemnly to you tonight. We will rebuild this Cathedral together.

BELL: With night falling the crowd turning their heartache into hymns. Some onlookers mourning, others on their knees praying, honoring the

Cathedral, a part of the city's core for close to nine centuries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:15:00] GORANI: And that was Melissa Bell reporting. When the flames grew and the spire collapsed, there was nothing Parisians could do expect

stop and stare. Patrick Klugman is a Paris Deputy Mayor, he watched this unfold from his office window. I asked him what he's learned just in the

last few hours about the tragedy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PATRICK KLUGMAN, DEPUTY MAYOR OF PARIS: Until last night we were afraid that the Cathedral itself would collapse. And we knew that the fire was

over and that the Cathedral of Notre Dame remains standing in Paris. And we learned most of the artifacts were rescued. Some of it displaced for a

few hours including the Crown of Thorns. Most of it is safe and secure at the Louvre.

GORANI: Do we know anything more about how this fire started?

KLUGMAN: I don't think we have some information on how the fire started and how it took place so rapidly and dramatically. We don't have this kind

of information. We will because as you know there's an investigation going on under the authority of the prosecutor of Paris. There will be a time

when we will have the most precise and definitive information we can have.

GORANI: You mentioned there's been a lot of money pledged, hundreds of millions of euros from these big rich French families. Do we have even the

beginning of an idea of what kind of cost will be associated with this rebuilding effort?

KLUGMAN: We don't have of course today the amount that will be needed to restore and to rebuild Notre Dame as it should be. But we will know quite

rapidly by the way, the Notre Dame was in the course of a renovation and probably, probably it's due to this renovation that the fire started. It's

one of the probable -- possible causes. The city's around France have offered some contribution and of course the richest person in France,

everyone feels the need to make a contribution of course to its own facility.

So you have the rich people making very important grants, but you have hundreds of thousands of people around the world and specifically in France

that are also making efforts.

GORANI: And lastly, when you were watching live, I presume, as we all were watching live, the fire and when the spire also went down which was one of

the highest points in Paris, what went through your mind at that point?

KLUGMAN: We were frightened and because -- Notre Dame is the center of the city. It's the heart of the city. Notre Dame is at its very heart. When

we see this burning and the arrow falling inside, it was catastrophic. It was like if you were living a dramatic movie but for real.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: The Paris Deputy Mayor speaking a bit earlier about the tragedy that has destroyed parts of Notre Dame.

Still to come tonight, Sudan's current military rulers are facing international demands to step down and soon we are live there ahead.

[14:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Protestors in Sudan are getting some powerful support and their demand for rule after deposing a long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir. They

are in high spirits in Khartoum. The union is weighing in threatening to revoke the membership if the military there does not publish civilian rule

within 15 days. We haven't seen a response from the traditional military council but it did make a few more concessions today. Will it be enough?

I'm going risk it and say, no, it is not enough for these protestors, Nima?

NIMA ELBAGIR, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No, absolutely not. What we're seeing is a growth in the numbers of people heading to the

demonstration site. It has really seemed to be dawning on people over the last few days, not only that they have domestic momentum behind them

forcing down two military rulers of Sudan but they have international momentum behind them.

If the U.S. is saying they're more than happy to remove Sudan from the list, that designation, if they see real change in the government. By

change, I guess they're hoping that some of the figures that are more closely associated with the regime will not stick around for too long. One

of them the vice chair of the council, was the head of the rapid support forces, forces who were part of the militia who were responsible for

atrocities.

Of course he was never indicted. You've seen the pictures, the euphoria is extraordinary, but there's also an extraordinary level of persistence and a

sense that they know what they want and they're going to hold out for it.

GORANI: It's also very tricky, right? What comes next. I imagine within the protest group, there probably is some disagreement about what should

take over and in what form?

ELBAGIR: And the reality is because of how repressive the regime, the reason this movement survived for as long as it did is because they didn't

have any figure heads who could be plucked out and put away somewhere safe by Omar al-Bashir and his cronies. There's a concern about how consensus

is being reached. But there also is a real sharp and hard line being drawn even among those who are disagreeing.

[14:25:01] There has to be a traditional council in which civilian voices are represented. These are offices, these are armed forces officers. They

don't take kindly in any situation. The civilians telling them what to do. They think they can get the job done.

GORANI: We're going to keep our eye on that. Thanks very much.

Less than two days from now we'll know what's inside the Mueller report or at least whatever the U.S. Justice Department refuses to redact. The White

House is preparing its response and officials tell CNN that they don't expect the report to change public opinion much. The highly anticipated

release is one of many issues looming over the 2020 Presidential race. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to Christiane Amanpour about the

importance of 2020.

Everything is at stake in this election, the constitution of the United States with the importance of 2020.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Everything is at stake in this election, the constitution of the United States with the President who's trying to usurp

the power of the legislative branch of government, the environment in which we live, a Republican party that is in denial about the assault on climate

and the climate crisis which is a health issue, a national security issue, an economic and moral issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Interesting. She also mentioned Brexit. And Stephen Collinson joins me now. Nancy Pelosi was saying no deal that would jeopardize the

good Friday agreement that you know would be a good deal. Also weighing in to U.K. politics. Let's talk about the Mueller report. What are we

expecting Thursday?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think anybody that thinks that the -- what is supposedly the final release of the Mueller report is

going to solve this whole issue of what Donald Trump is going to be disappointed.

Those redactions that you mentioned, are we going to get a good look into the reasons why Mueller decided what he did, that there was not sufficient

evidence to see collusion between the Trump campaign or are we going to see a report that has huge sections blacked out and is going to simply prolong

the debate about what exactly went on.

I think we should look at this perhaps as the next stage in an escalating war between the White House and Congress and the Justice Department on

getting hold of the kind of evidentiary basis of the Mueller report other than what the Justice Department as you said decides to show Congress and

Americans.

GORANI: If the administration believes the report provides a total exoneration of the campaign, why are they resisting the full release?

COLLINSON: I think what they understand is that the summary that was provided was probably the best news they were going to get out of this. He

delivered the top lines, namely that Mueller found there was no evidence of collusion, and also the fact that he wasn't able to come to a conclusion on

obstruction. And Barr decided there was no criminal case to answer on obstruction.

This report is going to have a lot of information in it, presuming we get to see it, of perhaps if not illegal but questionable behavior by people in

the Trump campaign. All those meetings with Russians, all the lying about it, and on the obstruction issue, it's very likely there's going to be

behavior revealed by the President leaning on key officials that looks like it's kind of obstructing justice even if it doesn't reach the criminal bar

for that.

There could be a lot of unflattering and politically damaging information in this even if it doesn't sort of go against those conclusions that Barr

came out with a few weeks ago.

GORANI: Because the release of this summary did not move the needle in terms of polling and ratings for the President, will the Democrats use

whatever they end up gleaning from this report in the 2020 race or would it be self-defeating to do so.

COLLINSON: I think they will. Before that they'll use it for their own investigations, multiple investigations that are under way in Congress.

They will fight this battle to get more of the evidence that Mueller uncovered. Now the bet I think that the White House is making that in six

to eight months' time the whole issue of Russian and the election is not going to be the driving issue. When the begin debates begin about health

care, the economy, that's their bet.

[14:30:05] They believe that sufficient numbers of Republicans will disregard whatever happens and then Trump's in the business of trying to

get that 5 percent or 6 percent of voters above his base that he would need to win the election. Nancy Pelosi is making the case that he's unfit to be

reelected, he's a challenge to norms and everything that comes out of the report will begin their campaign to suggest that America faces a crucial

choice in 2020 and that Donald Trump is fit no longer to be President.

GORANI: Thanks very much.

Still to come, we'll have more on that devastating fire at Notre Dame as focus turns now to salvaging the Cathedral with plans to rebuild and money

pouring in. We'll have the very latest, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, let's return now to the story that's gripping the world. The shock of yesterday's fire that devastated the Notre Dame Cathedral in

Paris is sinking in. And the focus now is, obviously, on what went wrong and what can be saved.

You're looking here at the scorched remains. Of course, the cathedral is an icon, not just for Paris and for Catholics, but for the world and its

home to so many priceless treasures.

Pledges for the rebuilding effort are pouring in with more than a billion dollars promised, so far.

The famous spire and the roof are gone, but there is some good news. The facade and the towers are intact and many historic pieces of art were

saved.

Officials now are beginning the long task of determining the extent of the damage.

Let's get the latest from Paris. Hadas Gold is there for us tonight. Any sense of how long the cathedral will have to stay closed while they rebuild

what was lost?

HADAS GOLD, CNN MEDIA AND BUSINESS REPORTER: Well, Hala, they're still even determining the stability of the structure. We've been seeing cranes

up around the cathedral. We've seen workers attaching straps, it seems, to some of the statues.

Actually, French president, Emmanuel Macron, just gave a televised address to the nation. He said that he wants Notre Dame to be rebuilt in five

years. That is a very fast timeline. Because experts say this would take likely more like 10 to 15 years to be rebuilt. But this is very ambitious.

And he said he wants to have Notre Dame rebuilt to be even more beautiful than it was before.

Obviously, it will have to be a little bit different. For example, the famous wooden roof that is now destroyed was made from very special wood,

from a very special timbers, from a forest in France that no longer exist. They don't have frees that big in France any longer. They will have to get

those trees from elsewhere.

And, obviously, there will be other elements they will have to remake. Because keep in mind, when this cathedral was built over 800 years ago, it

took 200 years to build. Thousands upon thousands of people spent their lives, has put all of their life into this work. This really piece of art

of a building.

But now, France is all coming together, the world is coming together to help rebuild. Hala?

GORANI: And what's the mood 24 hours on? I wonder. There has to be some relief that the structure was preserved alongside the sadness that the

spire and the roof were essentially obliterated.

GOLD: Yes, Hala, definitely relief that people coming here and looking at Notre Dame 24 hours later still see something standing, because when I was

here last night watching the fire burn, it was -- people were wondering whether it was even going to still exist in the next day. When they woke

up this morning to see that it was still standing, they thought that that was a miracle.

[14:35:14] Also, what's the miracle? Is that there weren't any more injuries. We have heard of a firefighter who was injured, possibly a

policeman, but the fact that no parishioners, no tourist, none of them were injured. That is also a miracle.

GORANI: All right. Hadas Gold live in Paris. Thanks very much. Part of our team covering this important story.

The cathedral represents France like few other monuments. I mean, obviously, there's the Eiffel Tower, there's the Arc de Triomphe. But

Notre Dame is kind of the heart, even geographically, the beating heart of Paris, which is why watching its destruction has left the city so

profoundly shaken.

But with the smoke cleared, there is some hope, miraculously, much of the gothic structure was saved, as we were discussing there.

And as our Phil Black reports, returning it its former glory will now be the focus of an entire nation.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): How do you measure the profound value of one old building to a nation or to the world?

(PEOPLE SINGING)

Perhaps when people stop in the street to weep and pray because of its partial destruction, when the French president openly shares that grief,

and efforts to save it are broadcast everywhere.

Notre Dame is among the most famous of famous buildings, 13 million people visit every year. Countless more stand before it, tilt their heads up and

gaze at the extraordinary vertical scale. The vast rose windows and the many ornate sculptures guarding its exteriors, gargoyles, saints, and

angels. All the features that make it a masterpiece of the gothic style.

But few visitors saw this. A 2018 special broadcast by a local network France 2 (ph), showed these images of the centuries old woodwork supporting

the roof. There's so much woodwork supporting the roof. There's so much oak here. It's known as the "Forest of Notre Dame." The same timber

structures that would, just a few months later, feed fire that threaten to destroy the whole cathedral.

Notre Dame, our lady of Paris has stood since the 1200s. A building in constant evolution as artists and craftsmen altered and repaired the

structure and its decorations.

The towering timber spire now lost to the flames was added in the 1800s. Often a symbol and reflection of French political power, the cathedral was

vandalized through the French revolution when Napoleon Bonaparte used it to re-instate monarchic rule with his coronation as emperor.

Later, French republican leaders, the nation's presidents were honored here too.

This service was for military men hero and statesmen (INAUDIBLE) Notre Dame survived the violence and occupation of war. More recently, terrorist

attacks in Paris saw it become a focus for the nation's grief.

An inspiration for artists, across many art forms, none more important than Victor Hugo's novel, published in English as the "Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Before the flames, time and weather were the cathedral's determined and powerful enemies, desperately needed restoration work was already underway.

Now, saving Notre Dame has become a critical goal for all of France, in a place famed for beautiful old buildings, one stood above all others as an

icon of the nation's story and the French people are not ready to get it go.

Phil Black, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: So the focus is now very much on restoring this magnificent cathedral. And the French president has promised that it will be rebuilt.

The question now is, what will that take? Notre Dame has a historical significance and a place in people's hearts that stretches beyond France.

Earlier, I spoke to Ken Follett, the bestselling author of historical fiction, including the "Pillars of the Earth," a novel about building a

cathedral in the middle ages. He also wrote "A Column of Fire" on the same subjects. So he knows a thing or two about medieval gothic architecture.

Ken has extensively researched these cathedrals throughout his career. I started by asking him how he felt after watching that devastating inferno?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEN FOLLETT, AUTHOR: First of all, enormous relief that so much has survived. And as you say last night, I went to bed thinking that it would

be flattened by this morning. And we -- the mayor of Paris had the same -- the deputy mayor of Paris, who you interviewed, have the same thought. He

didn't think he was going to see a cathedral in the morning.

[14:40:59] And so to see so much of it surviving was a tremendous relief. We've got the walls, we've got the east end, which is where those wonderful

flying buttresses are that looks like the wings of birds just taking off. The view from the east is the best view. And also, the iconic twin square

towers at the west end.

So it looks as if and even looks as if some of the glasses survived, which is incredible. Yes.

GORANI: The stained glass. I think some of the -- what is the term for it, the rosette, the stained glass, the round stained glass.

FOLLETT: Rose window. They call it the rose window. There are three rose windows and it looks as if, at least one of them still has its stained

glass, which is quite remarkable.

GORANI: You've written so much, you've had cathedrals so much at the heart of your stories and your novels. What was it for you personally, as an

author and as an expert, to see that fire yesterday? How will --

FOLLETT: Well, it was -- it was unbelievably tragic. It was -- it was like somebody dying. And the reason is that these buildings -- we're very

lucky to live in northwest Europe where we, every day, we see medieval buildings and they connect us with our past. We walk past Westminster

Abbey in this city or Notre Dame in Paris, and we can think, that was built by my ancestors. And it connects me with my ancestors. And you think,

yes, that belongs to me, because my ancestors built it.

And that gives you this feeling of belonging somewhere, which is very precious and that's why last night you saw those Parisians on the street

looking at this fire and weeping because they had lost that.

GORANI: Some of them singing hymns.

FOLLETT: Yes.

GORANI: Ave Maria. And, you know, someone tweeted -- I'm going to paraphrase it, something that I thought was quite powerful, is we mourn the

loss or the damage to these heritage sites, not just in the western world, but we saw what ISIS did to Mosul. We saw the Umayyad Mosque in Aleppo.

Because it is a testament to what humanity over hundreds of years, is able to achieve, with all the wars and evil that we do, we can also say we did

that.

FOLLETT: And the thing about a cathedral is that it's a work of art, but it's not one man or one woman's conception. It's done by a whole group of

people. It's more like a moon shot. That's the level of effort that it takes from a society. So it's also a collective thing.

And for us in England, of course, we remember that English and French craftsmen worked side by side on these cathedrals.

GORANI: By hand, for decades.

FOLLETT: No power tools.

GORANI: Right.

FOLLETT: And they didn't even have -- we take it for granted that we can go to a hardware store and buy a perfectly balanced hammer with a steel

head. They didn't have anywhere near that good of a set of tools to use. They didn't have the mathematics. They couldn't calculate the stresses in

one of those buildings. It's just fantastic that they did this, but they did this as a communal enterprise. And that sort of makes it more special.

GORANI: Lastly, obviously, the big question is, where the fire started and how it spread so quickly. The deputy -- I mean, some of the reports that

I've been reading, and as you can see from the images as well, said it started up top. Perhaps in the rafters section. Do you agree that that's

the most likely?

FOLLETT: It's the only place. It's the only plausible place, because it's the only place where there's something to burn. There are the oak rafters

and the slats, the timbers. And the other thing is in those roof spaces, there's always litter.

People leave -- maintenance workers leave bits of rope, bits of wood, there are bird's nests up there, and (INAUDIBLE) and all kinds of things. And

you can easily imagine how somebody might have dropped a cigarette and set a little pile of litter of fire, which might have burned for quite a long

time and finally set fire to an oak beam.

But there is another possibility that they must be looking at today in Paris, which is that it's actually associated with the renovation work.

GORANI: Of the spire, I think is what they were renovating.

FOLLETT: You'll remember those pictures, there was a moment when the spire seemed to be surrounded by a ring of fire, didn't it? And then my friend

who saw this said as the spire collapsed, the fire seemed to spread along the ridge of the north transept, of the roof of the north transept,

terribly quickly, and then blow out a window that was high in the gable of the facade, of the transept.

And that doesn't sound like oak rafters burning. It sounds like something maybe electrical or chemical.

GORANI: Yes. Or who knows if they were using solvents, or if they were using paint that catches fire easily or if there were electric cables that

caught fire as well. That could explain it. I'm sure they're looking into all of these possibilities.

[14:45:04] FOLLETT: And I think the rapidity of the fire and its intensity only half an hour before people first started to notice -- half an hour

after people first started to notice smoke. The rapidity and the intensity suggests to me maybe something more than just wood burning.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Ken Follett there, the famous author who's written so much about medieval cathedrals in his novels speaking to me.

Still to come tonight, after Monday's fire, where do you begin to restore an 800-year-old building? Well, there is one precedent here in the U.K.

We take a look at how Windsor Castle was restored after a similar devastating fire. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: So some of France's wealthiest and most prominent families are digging deep to help with the rebuilding of Notre Dame. Pledges are

already nearing $700 million. A big chunk of that comes from the Arnault family behind the luxury brands, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTOINE ARNAULT, LVMH GROUP: We do feel that responsibility also because we are the caretakers of those symbolic brands. I mean, not only the big

luxury brands that you mentioned, but also wines, also the big brands of champagne.

So, in a way, we're lucky to work with these French names and the Patrimoine of France and the heritage of France, we take care of, but we

also profit from. So, in a way, we're giving back to France what France has given us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GORANI: Well, the French president plans to launch an international drive to raise money for the cathedral. Samuel Burke has been tracking these

donations. And it's not just Arnault, it's also the Pinault family. I mean, these are really the richest families of France. The L'Oreal family,

which is Bettencourt also pledging 100 plus million euros.

SAMUEL BURKE, CNN BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: Incredible wealth. Of course, it's easy to count money, it's much more difficult to

count the bravery of the firemen and firewomen who were there last night putting out these flames and the people who were salvaging the art from the

building.

Though important to note that this money can be spent well. According to experts, they say this can be restored. I just want to put up on the

screen these huge amounts of money that are coming in. Because the experts do say it will cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Arnault family, that you referenced there from the LVMH put $226 million, they've pledged. Francois Pinault's family, they're behind Gucci,

113 million. The Bettencourt family, brands like L'Oreal, 226 million. And Total, the energy company, $113 million. Companies like Apple also

pledging.

I think what's interesting to note here is one expert telling CNN that immediately that money needs to go to a temporary roof to go over the

cathedral --

GORANI: Yes. There's a big hole there right now.

BURKE: Exactly. To protect it from exactly what you'd expect, wind, rain, et cetera.

[14:50:02] GORANI: Certainly, in Paris, I understand also rain is forecasted in the next few days and you want to make sure that more damage

isn't done.

You know, by the way, you're rich when you can just write a hundred million euro check --

BURKE: Yes, I mean, it is incredible --

GORANI: -- in two hours after a fire starts.

BURKE: I was looking up Pinault's family, of course, the son is married to actress, Salma Hayek, as well. The family has an estimated net worth of

$337 billion. So that's how you can get a check, that significant.

Also, Air France has pledged to anybody who's going to help do the reconstruction and the experts have said there are these artisans from

France already there, but also in Germany and the U.K. that do have the expertise, the craftsmanship to do this, they will give them free flights

to help them take part in the reconstruction process.

GORANI: That's great. I'm sure also in Italy they have artisans and crafts, people who have been doing that a long time.

Do we have any idea what the total amount will be for the renovation?

BURKE: The only thing that experts have been telling me is that it will be hundreds of millions of dollars. And I think immediately, you think of --

you hear wealthy families or celebrities pledging money oftentimes and you wonder how is that actually going to be administered.

And they said in this case, actually, slow bureaucracy would be in the favor of this project. The number one thing the experts say, after they

get that temporary roof on, is to go as slowly as possible, that that actually will help the project, any type of speedy, type of reconstruction

of the project would not be beneficial given the delicate nature of this building even before the fire.

GORANI: Well, the French president is very ambitious.

BURKE: Yes, maybe politically expedient to do that as well.

GORANI: This isn't five years.

BURKE: The experts are saying this type - the type of craftsmanship that you have in here, the glass, the wood, all has to be done very carefully

and there are records of the building, thankfully, so they can refer back to that and use that to get it into what would, hopefully be its most

original form.

GORANI: And I wonder when they'll be able to start. As you said, the biggest issue now is protect the roof so that water, wind, debris, doesn't

continue to damage the inside.

But in earnest, I guess, that too has to start quickly. Right? Because you can't leave things to decay for too long.

BURKE: Exactly. The expert that we spoke with said this has to begin immediately, as soon as they are sure that it is safe for the firefighters

and other staff to go on site, that they have to get this back over or else even more damage will be incurred.

GORANI: All right. Samuel Burke, thanks very much.

More to come. The world watched agape as the roof of the historic building crumbled. Next, we bring you some of your reaction to the event. We'll be

right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GORANI: Well, those are the bells of the most famous religious building in the country. We're broadcasting from Westminster Abbey here in London

ringing in solidarity with Notre Dame.

Rebuilding an iconic building will be daunting if French authorities are looking for inspiration. It will be useful to look here, Windsor Castle

suffered a huge fire in 1992.

Anna Stewart takes a look at how they rebuilt it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It started in Queen Victoria's private chapel late one morning, a spotlight too close to

a curtain sparking a fire that spread within minutes. Prince Andrew, the Queen's son, was in the castle at the time.

PRINCE ANDREW, ROYAL KNIGHT OF THE GARTER: I heard the fire alarm and some two or three minutes later, when I came out of the room that I was actually

in, you could see the smoke, not as extensive as it is now, but you could definitely see it.

Stewart: The inferno went on all day and into the night, destroying 115 rooms. It was all hands on deck.

PRINCE ANDREW: Her majesty is absolutely devastated. She is present inside the castle helping to take stuff out of the castle, works of art and

various other things.

[14:55:01] STEWART: Two hundred and twenty-five firefighters tackled the fire with 1.5 million gallons of water finally extinguishing it at 2:30 the

following morning.

Restoring a 900-year-old castle was no easy task. Francis was one of the key architects for the project.

FRANCIS MAUDE, LED RESTORATION OF WINDSOR CASTLE: Presence involved a clear understanding of the significance of what's left because there will

have been alterations. Some of which will not have been of the highest quality since the day of the first construction. You want to be able to

keep what's good and to modernize things where there's the opportunity to do so.

STEWART: This project took five years and $48 million. Restoring Notre Dame is likely to cost considerably more, but it can be done.

MAUDE: This is not the end. It's a new face of Notre Dame. There will be a rebirth of the cathedral. You've got to remember that there've been

other things which have been brought -- remember, Windsor Castle. Grieve today for what you've lost, tomorrow, pick up and look forward to the

future.

STEWART (on-camera): As France mourns the devastation of its historic landmark, it can look to the citizens of England and Windsor Castle for

hope. Through painstaking work and dedication, it has been restored to its former glory and continues to play a central role for the nation's major

historic events.

STEWART (voice-over): Home to not one, but two royal weddings last year and it may host a royal christening in the coming months, given Windsor

will soon have a new resident baby Sussex. Like Windsor Castle, Notre Dame can emerge from the ashes, playing home to the nation's future, as well as

it's great past.

Anna Stewart, CNN, Windsor.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GORANI: Well, if you've been scrolling through your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feeds, you'll see dozens of pictures of Notre Dame in happier

times.

And the reason for this is the famous cathedral is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. In fact, 13 million people visit it

every year.

Here are a few of your observations. Natalie Sparza (ph) from Detroit first visited in 2000. She told CNN she was absolutely spellbound.

Vicky East from Canada, she visited the Cathedral last year and took this picture. She described it as a beautiful contemplate of place that meant

so much to so many.

A final thought this evening on why the fire that threatened to destroy one of Paris' most iconic landmarks had the world on edge for so many hours.

In the end it's just a building, right? Nobody died. Well, it is a building, but it's so much more than that. It is the beating heart of

Paris, revered monument to the world's billion-plus Catholics. And even to nonbelievers and people of other faiths, to millions of visitors every

year, it is of universal value.

As Canadian writer, Guy Gavriel Kay, tweeted, we grieve for these heritage sites, quote, "In part, because we know we only have decades each of us.

But these things may last to say, we were here and with all the evil we did, we also did this."

Seeing the spire come down reminded me of seeing pictures of the grand Umayyad mosque in Aleppo that lost it its minaret in the fighting in 2013.

It too was built around the same time, little bit earlier. Or rather same time construction started on Notre Dame.

I felt the same seeing the spire fall as I did tearing up looking at pictures of the heap of rubble that was once a beautiful structure towering

over Aleppo's old city.

Why do we care, in the end, about buildings, about heritage sites? Because they are a testament that will outlive us to all that is good in humanity.

Thanks for watching. I'm Hala Gorani. "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END