The devastation of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris this week was a heartbreaking sight that shocked the world. Onlookers could only watch helplessly as flames destroyed the roof and spire of the 800 year old church in a matter of hours. According to French police, a restoration mishap started the fire that left millions of dollars worth of damage in its wake.
As the world mourned the loss of such a magnificent piece of history, firefighters announced they were able to save the main structure of the cathedral -- as well as most of the priceless artwork, relics, and statues it held. In a televised address to the people of France, President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame and set a goal of 5 years time for the process.
In the aftermath of the disaster, donations for the reconstruction began to pour in from around the world. Some of the richest people on Earth, including several French billionaires, donated millions of dollars to the cause. They weren't the only ones making a statement, however. Apple's CEO Tim Cook announced his company will be playing a part in rebuilding Notre Dame, making it the first American company to pledge aid to the fallen icon.
How much damage did the fire do to Notre Dame?
After dousing the flames, firefighters and church officials made painstaking efforts to assess the level of damage. Among items recovered from the fire were priceless holy relics such as the Crown of Thorns, which was said to be worn by Jesus himself during his crucifixion. The Great Organ, a massive instrument built into the church structure, survived the fire without sustaining irreparable damage.
What was lost, however, was the entire roof and spire of the church. In dramatic video footage that quickly went viral around the world, onlookers witnessed the towering spire become engulfed in flames and collapse into the church itself.
Miraculously, the wreckage landed on the floor of the chapel without damaging the rest of the structure significantly. Other pieces lost included one of the famous stained glass rose windows and several relics that were housed within the spire.
Apple pledges to donate
Officials aren't completely sure on the total scope of damage, but they're estimating a reconstruction price tag in the magnitude of several hundred millions of dollars. The worldwide outcry at the loss of Notre Dame led to several of France's wealthiest people donating massive amounts of money to the recovery effort.
Before the day ended, the CEOs of companies like L'Oréal and Louis Vuitton had pledged massive amounts to the campaign. All donors at this point, however, were French.
Enter Apple CEO Tim Cook. In response to the disaster, Cook made an announcement on Twitter where he shared his sympathies for the people of France and those who held Notre Dame dear.
We are heartbroken for the French people and those around the world for whom Notre Dame is a symbol of hope. Relieved that everyone is safe. Apple will be donating to the rebuilding efforts to help restore Notre Dame’s precious heritage for future generations.🇫🇷
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 16, 2019
Apple has not yet revealed the exact amount it plans to donate, but given the significance of such a historical loss, we expect the number to be huge. Apple has a strong presence in France already, with three retail stores located in Paris itself. Giving back to the Parisian community would be another bright spot in the history of the world's most valuable company.
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