Paris’ Notre Dame engulfed in flames

Paris’ Notre Dame engulfed in flames
TOPSHOT - Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. / AFP / Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / LE MONDE

Only a few hours ago, Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire and was subsequently evacuated.

The enormous blaze has continued as firefighters have worked hard to control and extinguish the blaze, which Paris officials are saying could have started due to restoration work being performed on the church. A Notre Dame spokesperson says the fire was reported to have started in the cathedral’s attic before spreading across the roofline engulfing the building’s monumental spire. The spire collapsed about an hour and half after the church began to burn and the fire does not seem to be relenting.


Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral. Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP / LE MONDE


Andre Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, told Le Monde: ‘Everything is burning. The frame – which dates to the 19th century on one side and the 13th century on the other – there will be nothing left. We will have to wait and see whether the vault, which protects the Cathedral, will be touched by the fire on not.’

The French president, Emmanuel Macron was meant to give a televised speech this evening but has postponed it and is instead following the efforts that are being made to control the fire. In a tweet just after 7:00, Macron said: ‘Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.’

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, also weighed in via Twitter saying: ‘Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always.’

Firefighters have cleared the area and they as well as the Paris police have urged everyone to stay clear of the area.

Notre-Dame, which translated to ‘Our Lady’ and is the Archdiocese of Paris is not only a monumental landmark in Paris but an architectural treasure of the world. Construction of the cathedral began in 1163 and was not completed until 1345. The cathedral would become one of the first and finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Through innovations, including rib vaulting and flying buttresses, the roof of the cathedral was able to be raised higher while the interior remained light and airy. This also made room for more windows on the wall and the large rose windows all of which were filled with stunning stained glass giving the cathedral and ethereal feel.

Now, much, if not all of that architecture, history, and irreplaceable craftsmanship is in jeopardy if not already lost. In addition to the building itself, relics, including the three that were in the rooster that once stood on top of the spire have potentially been reduced to ashes. Countless more relics, artworks, manuscripts, remains, and other objects reside in the cathedral.

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