Paris: Massive fire Destroys Notre-Dame cathedral destroys iconic spire

Paris: Massive fire Destroys Notre-Dame cathedral destroys iconic spire: A major fire has engulfed the medieval cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris on Monday, one of France’s most famous landmarks. The official said that 850-year-old Gothic building’s spire and roof have collapsed but the main structure, including the two bell towers, has been saved. Firefighters are still working to contain the flames as teams try to rescue the artwork stored inside.

Notre Dame fire: What we know

  • A major fire erupted at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Monday.
  • The cathedral, which was undergoing renovations, suffered extensive damage.
  • Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the blaze.
  • The fire has been brought under control.
  • No deaths have been reported.
  • Notre Dame construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.

President Emmanuel Macron called it a “terrible tragedy”. The cause of the fire is not yet clear. “Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

A witness Jacek Poltorak said “Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France’s most visited places.

Officials say it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.

Buildings around were evacuated.

Nobody was injured, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said at the scene, adding: “It’s too early to determine the causes of the fire.” France 2 television reported that police were treating it as an accident.

Paris prosecutor’s office said it had opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire”. A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze. Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing. More than four hours later, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the main structure had been “saved and preserved” from total destruction.

French historian Camille Pascal said, “The cathedral of Notre Dame is impossible to separate from that of France and French national identity. It means so much, it is fundamental to France and French values. It has endured. We have never seen it like this. Never.”

“So much of the culture and history and identity of France are embodied by Notre Dame,” historian Bernard Lecomte told French media. “We are looking at the heart of Paris burn.”

“There are a lot of artworks inside…it’s a real tragedy,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene.

The cathedral was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding and bronze statues were removed last week for works.

The wood and lead spire were built during a restoration in the mid-19th century, according to the cathedral’s website.