Notre Dame’s Main Structure Saved, Fire Contained: Officials

Video Producer: Debayan Dutta

Video Edtior: Mohd. Irshad Alam

The structure of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris – including both the towers – has been saved, after a catastrophic fire engulfed the 800-year-old structure on Monday, 15 April.

After nine hours of battle, the fire now under control and has been partially extinguished, reported news agencies.

"“The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out.” " - Spokesperson, Paris Firefighters

Speaking to the media, French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild Notre Dame and said that France will seek international help to do so. He also added that the “worst has been avoided” in Notre-Dame fire.

Firefighters tackle the blaze as flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, 15 April, 2019.

The French Interior Ministry official had previously said that firefighters might not be able to save the Cathedral as the Spire had collapsed due to the blaze.

The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral.

Prosecutors have opened an investigation as Paris police said there were no reported deaths. Some 400 firefighters were battling the blaze well into the night.

Roof Ravaged, One Firefighter Injured

Paris fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet said a major accomplishment of hundreds of firefighters was stopping the flames from spreading to the north tower belfry.

Gallet said two-thirds of Notre Dame's roofing “has been ravaged”. He also added that one firefighter was injured.

Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame Cathedral and ash is falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of Paris.

He further said fire crews will keep working overnight to cool down the structure.

The fire chief in Paris went even further, saying his crews managed to stop the flames from reaching the belfry and prevented a catastrophic collapse.

The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions, immortalized by Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Also Read: In Pictures: Catastrophic Fire Engulfs Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral

‘A National Emergency’

Macron also said that the situation is being treating as a national emergency. He reached the landmark cathedral on Monday evening and went straight into meetings at the nearby Paris police headquarters.

Macron also cancelled his address to the nation because of the massive fire and extended “thoughts for all the Catholics and all the French”. In a tweet Macron said, “sad to see a part of us being on fire.”

People pray as Notre Dame cathedral is burning in Paris, Monday, 15 April, 2019. 

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe also expressed grief and said that he felt a “sadness beyond words” but added the fire services “were still fighting... heroically, to save what can be saved”.

Paris prosecutors think huge fire at Notre Dame was started accidentally based on preliminary investigation.

The fire service said the blaze could be “potentially linked” to ongoing renovations. Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media: “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.”

No Casualty Has Been Reported: Police

Police in Paris say the cause of the massive fire enveloping the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral is not yet known.

The French capital's police department said no deaths have been reported from Monday's fire. The police department didn't say anything about injuries.

The peak of the 12th century cathedral is undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project.

Located on the Ile de la Cite in the center of Paris, the Gothic cathedral is among the most famous from the Middle Ages and was built on the ruins of two earlier churches.

Efforts Underway To Salvage Art and Other Priceless Pieces

The city Mayor Anne Hidalgo confirmed and said that a “terrible fire” is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris and efforts are underway to control the flames.

The deputy mayor of Paris has said that Notre Dame Cathedral has suffered "colossal damages" from a fire that started in the spire and caused it to collapse.

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said first responders are trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral, reported The Associated Press.

A spokesperson for the cathedral said the fire, which comes as French Catholics prepare to celebrate Easter, broke out at around 1650 GMT.

‘London Stands in Sorrow With Paris’

Expressing sorrow, London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted visuals of the Cathedral in flames and said, “London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always.”

Reacting to the fire, President Trump has suggested that fire can be put out with the use of flying water tankers.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre-Dame cathedral a “symbol of European culture” as the blaze raged.

(With inputs from AP and AFP)

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