Notre Dame Fire: Paris cathedral suffers catastrophic fire, spire collapse but structure saved

PARIS — An enormous hearth swept throughout the top of Paris’ hovering Notre Dame Cathedral because it was undergoing renovations Monday, collapsing its spire and threatening one of the world’s biggest architectural treasures as tourists and Parisians seemed on aghast from the streets under.

The French president pledged to rebuild a cathedral that he referred to as “a part of us,” and appealed for nationwide and worldwide help to do so. The twelfth-century church is house to relics, stained glass and other incalculable artistic endeavors and is a leading international vacationer attraction, immortalized by Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

The Paris prosecutor’s office stated it was treating the hearth as an accident, ruling out arson and potential terror-associated motives, at the least for now. French media quoted the Paris hearth brigade as saying the hearth was “probably linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation challenge on the church’s spire and its 500 tons of wooden and 250 tons of lead.

Despite the dramatic image of the flaming cathedral, no one was killed. One firefighter was injured, amongst some 400 who struggled towards the flames for hours earlier than lastly extinguishing them. Firefighters continued working by means of the night time to chill the building and safe the monument, as residual sparks sprinkled down from the gaping gap where the spire was.

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The blaze began at 6:50 p.m. after it had closed to the general public, and spread to one of the cathedral’s landmark rectangular towers.

Close by buildings have been evacuated as fears mounted that the construction might collapse.

PHOTOS: A glance inside Notre Dame Cathedral in the course of the hearth

Because the spire fell, the sky lit up orange and flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks on the earth. Tons of of people lined up bridges across the island that homes the church, watching in shock as acrid smoke rose in plumes.

A earlier than photograph exhibits that spire three weeks in the past.

Paris hearth chief Jean-Claude Gallet stated the church’s structure had been saved after firefighters managed to cease the hearth spreading to the northern belfry. Gallet stated “two-thirds of the roofing has been ravaged.”

The hearth got here less than every week earlier than Easter amid Holy Week commemorations. Because the cathedral burned, Parisians gathered spontaneously to wish and sing hymns outdoors the church of Saint-Julien-Les-Pauvres throughout the river from Notre Dame while the flames lit the sky behind them. Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited clergymen across France to ring church bells in a name for prayers.

Nearing midnight, signs pointed to the hearth nearing an end as lights could possibly be seen by means of the home windows shifting across the front of the cathedral, apparently investigators inspecting the scene.

The town’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, stated a big assortment of art work and holy objects contained in the church had been recovered. She didn’t present details.

Specialists say firefighters have been left with devastatingly few options when confronted with a construction that’s more than 850 years previous, built with heavy timber development and soaring open spaces, and missing refined hearth-safety methods.

French President Emmanuel Macron handled the hearth as a national emergency, dashing to the scene and canceling a previously scheduled televised handle meant to deal with France’s yellow vest crisis.

“The worst has been prevented, though the battle is just not yet totally gained,” the president stated, adding that he would launch a national funding marketing campaign on Tuesday and call on the world’s “biggest skills” to help rebuild the monument.

“Notre Dame of Paris is our history, our literature, our creativeness. The place where we survived epidemics, wars, liberation. It has been the epicenter of our lives,” Macron stated from the scene.

Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit invited clergymen throughout France to ring church bells in a name for prayers for the beloved Paris cathedral.

PHOTOS: Firefighters battle large hearth at Notre Dame


Built in the 12th and thirteenth centuries, Notre Dame is probably the most well-known of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages in addition to one of the beloved buildings on the earth. Located on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine river, its structure is legendary for, among other issues, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses. Some thirteen million individuals visit it every year.

Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose home windows, positioned excessive up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures additionally embrace a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is just sometimes displayed, together with on Fridays during Lent.

“It isn’t one relic, not one piece of glass – it’s the totality,” stated Barbara Drake Boehm, senior curator on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval Cloisters branch in New York, her voice shaking as she tried to put into words what the cathedral meant. “It’s the very soul of Paris, nevertheless it’s not only for French individuals. For all humanity, it is one of the nice monuments to the perfect of civilization.”

French historian Camille Pascal informed BFM broadcast channel the blaze marked “the destruction of invaluable heritage.”

“It has been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris,” Pascal stated. “Joyful and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.”

He added: “We might be solely horrified by what we see.”

RELATED: Notre Dame Cathedral: Before and through the hearth

“It’s heartbreaking,” ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran reflected. “Notre Dame isn’t just a church, it is the guts of France. It’s a place that may be a testament to the historical past of France and a spot that the French individuals have rallied round in occasions of hassle. Additionally it is a place that is constructed to the glory of God. So this can be a tragedy not just for the individuals of France, but in addition for the individuals of the Christian faith all over the world.”

ABC Information contributor Alastair Bruce stated it might take many years for the church to be rebuilt.

“I might think about that this is the best tragedy to the arts of France that we are witnessing now, and it’ll take virtually one hundred years to place it right,” he stated.

Notre Dame, probably the most nicely-recognized tourist points of interest on the planet, is understood for its Gothic architecture with many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses. It’s also reverred for its age: Elements of the church have been accomplished in 1250. It’s the subject of numerous stories and artistic endeavors, notably Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was tailored into an animated Disney film.


Macron posted on Twitter in French with a message that translates to, “Notre-Dame de Paris in flames. Emotion of a complete nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our compatriots, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”

Crowds stopped of their tracks alongside the Seine River, which passes underneath the island the place the cathedral stands.

Eyewitness John Dickas advised ABC Information it’s heartbreaking for bystanders who are watching the efforts to battle the blaze.

“For me, probably the most heartbreaking second was once I noticed – about 20 minutes after I started watching the hearth – I saw the ladders go up and the hoses begin spraying,” he stated. “It was simply heartbreaking to observe. The ladders were not tall sufficient. The hoses weren’t robust enough. This was, just clearly, a fireplace beyond the capability of the crews’ functionality. I mean, they have been clearly doing the whole lot they might. It was just so much greater and so much extra uncontrolled than that they had the assets to cope with.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo stated in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters have been still making an attempt to limit the hearth and urged Paris residents to respect the safety perimeter that has been set across the cathedral.

Hidalgo stated Paris authorities are in contact with the Paris diocese.

Reactions from around the globe came swiftly together with from the Vatican, which launched a press release expressing shock and unhappiness for the “terrible hearth that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, image of Christianity in France and on the planet.”

In Washington, Trump tweeted: “So horrible to observe the huge hearth at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris” and prompt first responders use “flying water tankers” to place it out.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, stated he was praying “to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Woman, for the Cathedral at the coronary heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames! God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and shield those battling the blaze.”

ABC Owned Tv Stations and ABC Information contributed to this report.

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