Before a massive fire ruined a sizable portion of the Notre Dame Cathedral, 16 historic statues had been taken out of the way. It was the first time the statues had come down from their position in more than a century.

Apparently, the statues had been removed from their position as part of the church’s restoration process. The job required using a 100-meter-high crane that brought down the copper statues representing the 12 apostles and four evangelists.

The valuable historical masterpieces were lowered onto a truck. For the first time in over 100 years, the public saw how the statues looked from ground level.

Louvre Museum saved the statues

The statues were headed towards southwestern France for a renovation project focusing on the church. In total, the project was estimated to be worth 6 million euros (about $6.8 million).

The artistic masterpieces being taken from the church were being taken to the Louvre Museum.

When the fire destroyed the cathedral or much of it, the renovation process was already underway. The project was estimated to be worth at least 150 million euros ($169 million).

An expert had said in 2017 that the building was in dire need of renovations. The stone was eroded, and the wind made the damage worse as small stones would fall off every time it blew.

Things had to be handled fast and extensively before they got completely out of control. But that did not really happen until a fire started at the cathedral.

When the fire started, various parties rushed to the scene to save the historical masterpieces from total ruin. A few pieces were saved from the fiery destruction that followed, including Christ’s crown of thorns and the French king Saint-Lous’ 13th-century tunic.

An ongoing investigation

Paris public prosecutor, Remy Heitz, promised that a long and complex investigation would take place to find out how the fire started. However, he claimed it was highly likely that an accident caused the unfortunate event.

There were suspicions that the fire resulted from arson, but there is also a likelihood that construction fire is responsible for the devastating blaze. These kinds of fires are not uncommon during the restoration of old churches.

On his part, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, promised that he would rebuild the cathedral. He also promised that a cabinet meeting dedicated to the Notre Dame Cathedral fire would take place.

Even as the fire gutted the building, wealthy donors from around the world promised to help fund the reconstruction, with 600 million euros ($677m) being pledged so far.

By Tuesday morning, the fire was completely out, and according to the fire brigade spokesman, the damage was quite bad. However, if it had not been contained promptly, it would have been much worse.

Still, the whole roof is in ruins, and some section of the vault has collapsed. The spire is also destroyed.

The French culture minister further warned that the building was still unstable.

Experts had earlier claimed that the building was likely to collapse in the next ten years, even without the fire adding to its instability.