A major fire has broken out in the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, France.
The medieval cathedral, situated on the Ile de la Cité in the heart of Paris, is one of the most famous cathedrals and tourist attractions in the world.
The construction of the church dates back to 1163 and had recently been undergoing renovation. It is these works that led the historical building to catch fire. The famous spire towards the rear of the cathedral and much of the roof have already collapsed as the fire destroyed the church.
The first stone of the original structure was laid in front of Pope Alexander III after the Bishop of Paris, Maurice de Sully, proposed the cathedral after his election in The original structure was completed nearly 200 years later, in 1345, and its name literally translates to “Our Lady of Paris”.
Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was published in 1831 and adapted by Disney in 1996, took the image of the monument into popular culture. The cathedral also houses a beehive over the sacristy, which was added in spring 2013. About 30-50,000 people every day and 13 million people every year visit the Catholic landmark.
Main structure saved says Police chief
French officials and the Paris fire chief think the Notre Dame Cathedral’s landmark rectangular towers have been saved from the fire that caused horrific damage. The fire has been stopped from spreading to the northern belfry, Paris police said.
The junior interior minister Laurent Nuñez said that authorities remain “prudent” but are “much more optimistic” than they were earlier on Monday night.
He added that the fire has “decreased in intensity” and “the structure of the building is saved, including the north tower.”
Paris fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet says that a major accomplishment of the hundreds of firefighters was stopping the flames from spreading to the north tower belfry.
Gallet says two-thirds of Notre Dame’s roofing “has been ravaged.” He says one firefighter was injured, adding that fire crews will keep working overnight to cool down the structure.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who was due to address the nation at 8pm on Monday evening, six months after his last address to the gilets jaunes movement, has postponed his speech “because of the terrible fire which is ravaging Notre Dame”, according to an Élysée spokesperson.
“Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” wrote Macron’s Twitter post in translation.
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, described the fire as a horror: “I am minute by minute watching the fire of which Notre-Dame de Paris is the prey. Our Lady of Paris belongs to the whole of mankind. What a sad spectacle. What a horror. I share the emotion of the French nation which is also ours.”
“Notre-Dame de Paris est Notre-Dame de toute l’Europe. We are all with Paris today,” Tweeted the European Council president Donald Tusk.
Notre-Dame de Paris est Notre-Dame de toute l’Europe. We are all with Paris today.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) April 15, 2019
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, said, via her spokesman’s Twitter: “It is with profound sadness that I am witnessing the events in Paris. I am saddened to see these terrible images of Notre Dame, symbol of France and of our European culture, in flames. Our thoughts go to our French friends.”
“The Fire of Notre Dame is a catastrophe for France. And it is for Spain and for Europe. The Flames devastate 850 years of history, of architecture, of painting, of sculpture. It’Ll Be hard to forget. France can count on us to regain the grandeur of its heritage,” tweeted the Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez.
Meanwhile, the U.S president Donald Trump had his own ideas of taking care of the incident:
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019