Notre Dame Fire Ravages Iconic Paris Cathedral

Nina Golgowski

Authorities responded to a massive fire at Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral on Monday that spread rapidly through the historic monument, toppling its spire and appearing to spread inside one of its two towers.

Firefighters responded to the scene around 7 p.m. local time on Monday, HuffPost France reported.

While authorities feared in the fire’s early hours that the entire historic monument could be destroyed, city officials confirmed around 11 p.m. local time that the main structure was “saved and preserved.” By early Tuesday morning, Paris police confirmed to CNN that the fire was under control. 

“The next hours will be difficult,” France’s President Emmanuel Macron said earlier in an address to the crowd gathered outside the cathedral. “But thanks to [the firefighters’] courage, the facade has not been damaged.”

He added that there will be a national effort toward making the repairs.

“We will rebuild Notre Dame, because it’s what the French people expect,” he said. “It’s what our history deserves. It’s our profound destiny.”

The gravity of the fire is still to be determined, but firefighters said the blaze began in the cathedral’s attic. About two-thirds of the building’s roof was destroyed.

A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky.

The fire is “potentially linked” to renovation work in the building, firefighters told Agence France-Presse.

One firefighter was seriously injured, Paris Fire Brigade commander general Jean-Claude Gallet said. No other injuries or deaths have been reported.

Several online videos captured the monument’s towering spire collapsing as onlookers gasped from down below. Later videos at the scene captured firefighters shooting water into one of the cathedral’s two front towers where flames appeared to be glowing inside.

As the religious monument burned into the night, Pierre Tremblay, a reporter with HuffPost France in Paris, described watching ashes fall from the sky over hundreds of people as they cried in silence.

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