Update 2: France on Tuesday was confronting the scorched remains of Notre Dame Cathedral, as officials announced they had extinguished the inferno that partly destroyed a symbol of the nation. Authorities said their first investigations suggest that the fire started by accident, perhaps in connection with much-needed renovations that left part of the renowned Gothic church encased in scaffolding.
Update: The roof of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral collapsed as a massive fire ripped through the structure on Monday, days before Easter.
Firefighters at the scene say all efforts are being directed towards saving the artwork stored at the back of the cathedral, which had been undergoing renovations and preventing the collapse of its northern tower.
As of Monday afternoon, the spire of the cathedral had fallen, and the fire had spread to one of its iconic rectangular towers. Firefighters may not be able to save the cathedral, according to a French Interior Ministry official.
A major fire broke out at the medieval Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday afternoon, leading firefighters to clear the area around one of the city’s most visited landmarks.
Posts on social media show the huge cloud of smoke and fire going through its two bell towers. A major operation is under way to tackle the blaze. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, described it as a “terrible fire”. She also urged people at the scene to respect the boundaries set up by fire crews in order to ensure that they remain safe.
The intensity of the flames coming out of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris… pic.twitter.com/JDAMCXFMk4
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 15, 2019
It was not immediately clear what had caused the fire. France 2 television reported that police were treating the incident as an accident, possibly related to the ongoing renovations work.
The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel the Hunchback of Notre-Dame. It is considered a feat of architecture as much as a religious symbol. The Notre-Dame Cathedral attracts millions of tourists every year.
Un terrible incendie est en cours à la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Les @PompiersParis sont en train de tenter de maîtriser les flammes. Nous sommes mobilisés sur place en lien étroit avec le @dioceseParis. J'invite chacune et chacun à respecter le périmètre de sécurité. pic.twitter.com/9X0tGtlgba
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 15, 2019
Truly sad images from Paris. This is still ongoing at the moment. So, hopefully the fire can be contained without causing major structural damage to the cathedral.