Historic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is on Fire and May Be Completely Destroyed
An immense tragedy is currently unfolding in Paris as a fire has broken out in the world-famous Notre-Dame cathedral and is spreading rapidly. Fire fighters are tackling the blaze in the 850-year-old historic building, but its magnificent spire has already fallen, and everything is collapsing, leaving locals devastated and in disbelief.
The BBC reports that a spokesman for the cathedral said the whole structure was burning and “there will be nothing left”.
French President Emmanuel Macron is on his way to the scene.
"Notre-Dame de Paris in flames," Macron has tweeted. "Emotion of all the nation. Give thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see the burning of this part of us."
Restoration work at Notre-Dame may have caused fire
France24 reports that the peak of the cathedral has been undergoing a €6 million renovation project and the fire could be linked to the renovation work.
Images posted on social media show smoke billowing out from the top of the medieval cathedral as flames tore through its two bell towers and the roof at the back of the cathedral.
The moment its spire fell has been captured by a local and shared on Twitter.
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019
Historic Loss is Immense
According to live updates on The Independent, the Île de la Cité – the natural island on which the cathedral stands – has been fully evacuated and locals are gathering in nearby squares to watch the disaster as smoke spreads across the city.
It is not believed that anyone has been injured in the fire, but the immense historic loss is difficult to fathom.
According to a church spokesman, the entire wooden interior of the 12 th century landmark is on fire.
As well as working desperately to put out the fire, Paris emergency services are also trying to salvage the artwork stored within the cathedral.
Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris ( XtravaganT / Adobe Stock)
850 Years of History Under Threat
Notre-Dame de Paris, meaning ‘Our Lady of Paris’, was begun in 1160 AD and mostly completed by 1260 AD. It is one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in existence and 12 million people visit the cathedral every year.
It is believed that the cathedral was built on a site originally occupied by a pagan temple, then by a Romanesque church, the Basilica of Saint Étienne, which was built between the 4th century and 7th century AD.
The current cathedral of Notre-Dame was commissioned by King Louis VII of France who commissioned impressive monuments to demonstrate to the world that Paris was the political, economic, religious and cultural capital of France.
The cathedral came under attack during the French Revolution in 1793 AD, and many of its treasures were destroyed or plundered.
In 1801 AD, the new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte, ordered the cathedral to be restored.
Since then, it has undergone numerous restoration works, and ironically, latest restoration works may result in its final destruction.
Top image: The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire. Credit: Andrew Griffin / The Independent