On late Monday afternoon, a catastrophic fire rapidly spread throughout Paris’s historic Notre-Dame-the medieval Gothic Cathedral and French landmark-causing both the spire and roof to collapse. As skies filled with smoke, passersby watched in horror as the flames spread from the spire (now collapsed) to one of the cathedral’s rectangular towers. According to the Ministry of the Interior for France, over 400 firefighters have been working to put out the blaze, and no injuries have been reported. In addition to firefighters, French emergency services are working to salvage art that has been stored within the cathedral.
Considered one of the city’s most iconic architectural structures, The Notre-Dame has undergone extensive renovations for years, which, according to many officials could be the cause of the fire. Foul play has not been ruled out, however. Regardless of the cause, the Notre-Dame-which was completed in the 1200s and restored through many instances of destruction-is an emblem of French culture and beyond, leaving many Parisians in complete sorrow.
Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, sent out a tweet expressing her thoughts on the event: “I do not have strong enough words to express the pain I feel toward Notre-Dame, ravaged by the flames. Tonight, all Parisians and French mourn this emblem of our communal history.”
Throughout its centuries-long history, the Notre-Dame has endured many phases of renovations-including after the French Revolution and both World Wars-though the extent of this fire’s damage is still undetermined.
President Emmanuel Macron arrived at the scene soon after the fire erupted, canceling an address that he had planned to give on Monday evening. He also mourned the tragedy in a tweet, saying "...like all of our fellow citizens, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
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
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