Notre Dame fire fully EXTINGUISHED as cause of Paris inferno is probed

Paris firefighters spent about 18 hours tackling the flames and managed to save Notre Dame’s main structure and iconic towers

The devastating blaze at Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral has been fully extinguished, say firefighters after spending about 18 hours tackling the flames.

Daylight photos of one of the world’s most iconic landmarks have revealed the scale of the devastation as investigators probe the cause and fashion billionaires line up to help rebuild it.

More than 400 firefighters battled through the night to save the main structure, iconic towers and main works of art, finally bringing the inferno under control after nine hours.

They spent another nine hours hosing down pockets of fire and hotspots that were still smouldering as heartbroken Parisians and tourists gathered at sunrise to survey the damage.

After the blaze broke out on Monday evening, flames ate through the roof and sent the spire crashing to the ground as teams raced to recover treasures from the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece, which housed priceless artefacts and significant religious relics.

Remarkably, only three people – two police officers and one firefighter – were injured as the fire engulfed the massive structure, and they were only “slightly” hurt.

Earlier, the fire brigade said it could take several days for crews to completely extinguish the remaining pockets of fire and secure the fragile structure.

However, it was announced on Tuesday morning that the blaze on Ile de la Cite, in the River Seine, had been fully extinguished

The Paris prosecutors’ office said police will carry out an investigation into “involuntary destruction caused by fire”, indicating authorities are treating the blaze as a tragic accident for now.

Arson, including possible terror-related motives, was earlier ruled out.

French President Emmanuel Macron said a national subscription would be launched to rebuild the national monument, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said a meeting will be held soon to discuss fundraising efforts.

Billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault, the richest person in Europe, announced his family and LVMH luxury goods group, which includes Louis Vuitton, Dior and Moet, will donate £173million.

It follows an £86million donation from Francois Henri Pinault, who heads the Kering luxury goods company, which includes the Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen brands, and is married to actress Salma Hayek.

Mr Pinault told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he expects others to follow suit as “it has to be a collective endeavour” to renovate the landmark, saying that “everyone with means and recourse should participate

He said it was a “shock” to see the building on fire, adding: “We need to rebuild collectively this part of our history, of our culture, so it’s an urgent, urgent need to move forward, so I decided to unlock a very important amount of money to do that.”

Asked if others from around the world could join him in donating money, he said: “Everyone is welcome, it goes beyond France, it’s a symbol of our culture, a symbol of spirituality and our common humanity.”

Mr Pinault said the money, which comes from his family’s personal wealth and not his retail empire Kering, comes with no strings attached or “ownership” as to how it is used to repair Notre Dame.

Pope Francis is praying for French Catholics and the Parisian population “under the shock of the terrible fire”.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said on Twitter that the pope “is close to France” and that he is offering prayers “for all those who are trying to cope with this dramatic situation”.

Earlier, the Vatican expressed “shock and sadness” at the fire that caused extensive damage to “a symbol of Christianity in France and in the world”.

Paris’ emergency services have been hailed for saving the main structure, towers, main works of art and religious artefacts including a relic purported to be the crown of thorns worn by Jesus Christ on the cross.

A hanging cross at the heart of the cathedral survived the inferno, surrounded by blackened walls, piles of what appeared to be the charred remains of the roof, and burnt pews in front of the altar.

There were hopes that the three famous rose windows, which date back to the 13th century, avoided catastrophic damage, while the bells that have rung out at key moments in France’s history were thought to be safe.

After the fire broke out at about 7pm local time as the last crowds of tourists ended visits, many videos were posted on social media platforms including YouTube.

It turns out that at least three were mislabelled as footage of the September 11 terror attacks in the US.

Online sleuths have launched a hunt for a man and a girl – possibly a father and daughter – after a picture showing the man swinging the girl in his arms in front of the cathedral went viral.

The pair were in a snap taken by an American tourist shortly before the fire broke out.

Notre Dame is one of Paris’s oldest and most recognisable buildings, and work began on it in 1163.

The original structure was completed nearly 200 years later, in 1345, and its name literally translates to “Our Lady of Paris”.

Some 13 million people now visit the Catholic landmark every year – more than 30,000 every day on average – according to its official website, and it is believed to be one of the most visited structures in the French capital.

Renovation works to fix Notre Dame’s historic stone walls and buttresses were estimated to cost around £130million.