A massive fire is burning at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, causing tremendous destruction to the iconic and historic building, the construction of which began all the way back in the year 1160. Sadly, Notre Dame officials have stated they expect that all the wooden parts of the cathedral will likely be destroyed by the fire. While the cause of the fire has not yet been determined, there is much conjecture that it may be accidental, related to ongoing renovations, renovations which also led to scaffolding surrounding several sections of the cathedral. First responders have been among those who attempted to save priceless artwork in the cathedral – it is not yet known how successful those efforts have been. According to The Hill:
A spokesperson for the Notre Dame Cathedral said Monday that the entire wooden interior of the building is on fire and will likely be destroyed, according to multiple outlets. “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” said spokesman André Finot, according to The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and CBC. The blaze broke out at the Paris landmark earlier Monday, and has already caused the building’s iconic spire to collapse. First responders are now mobilizing to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral, according to the AP.
From a safe distance, this person captured video of the moment the cathedral’s iconic spire collapsed in the blaze:
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, posted this tweet about the blaze, which, according to The Hill, translates to “A terrible fire is underway at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The fire brigade are trying to control the fire. We are mobilized locally in close connection with church authorities. I ask everyone to respect the security perimeter.”
President Trump suggested on Twitter that a water tanker should be deployed to drop water onto the fire from the air, but experts have indicated that the age of the structure makes it too fragile for such an airborne water drop, i.e. that would likely damage even more of the structure than the fire itself.
While the damaged portions of the cathedral will almost certainly be reconstructed, this massive destruction still represents a tremendous loss to history, to Catholics, and particularly to the people of France. As French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted (translated by The Hill), “Notre Dame of Paris in flames. Emotion for a whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”