Fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

John Hill
15. April 2019
Photo via Al Jazeera/Twitter

Parisians looked on in horror and grief Monday evening as a fire ripped through Notre-Dame Cathedral and brought down its spire.

See bottom of post for updates.

The 12th-century Gothic church, one of the most famous and visited Parisian landmarks and considered the "beating heart of Paris," was undergoing restoration when the fire started around 6:30pm. The cause of the fire was not immediately known.

The fire started in the cathedral's attic and spread quickly through the roof and then up the spire, which was the cathedral's tallest feature and was restored in the 19th century by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

The cathedral moments after the spire fell at 7:53 pm local time; 15 minutes later the roof collapsed. (Photo via Al Jazeera/Twitter)
Photo of Notre-Dame Cathedral with its 19th-century spire (Photo via notredamedeparis.fr)

After 10:30pm Paris time the cathedral was still ablaze, with around 400 firefighters battling the fire. With its roof and spire completely destroyed, only the scaffolding from the restoration was still in place over the main space of the church.

Concerns at this late hour -- four hours after the fire started -- are focused on the two towers on the east. The fire, per authorities, is threatening the north tower; it and the south tower house Notre-Dame's famous bells.

Update 4/16: 
  • Paris fire commander Jean-Claude said late last night, "We can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved," referring to the large church's stone walls and how the firefighters successfully kept the flames away from the north belfry. 
  • A fund set up by the French Heritage Foundation is raising money for rebuilding, which French President Emmanuel Macron said, via Twitter, will happen. François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, the owner of Gucci and other luxury brands, has reportedly pledged 100 million euros towards the rebuilding.
  • While the church was gutted by the fire and many artifacts were destroyed in the process, it appears the stained glass windows (below), which date to the 13th century, are safe.
Rayonnat Gothic rose window of north transept, Notre-Dame de Paris (Photo: Krzysztof Mizera/Wikimedia Commons)

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