A massive fire has broken out at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The damage appears to be devastating. As you’ll see below, much of the roof, which was built with oak timbers that are 800 years old, has collapsed.
— cristina mendez casacuberta (@ccasacub) April 15, 2019
Given some of the hoax videos we’ve seen recently, I was hoping this was someone’s bad idea of a joke but there are multiple videos showing this:
You can see roof timbers collapsing in this one:
It's really sad to see this happen to one of France's most famous landmarks. It's 800 years old. It will be such a big loss. The fire looks monstrous but I hope they can still do something about it. #NotreDame pic.twitter.com/GlAGA9xrUE
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There was some scaffolding around the area where the fire was burning. This picture is from a week ago.
— Robert Brauchle (@the_brockles) April 15, 2019
Is the fire connected to the construction? From the BBC:
The cause was not immediately clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work.
Images on social media show plumes of smoke billowing into the air above the 850-year-old Gothic building.
Last year, the Catholic Church in France launched an urgent appeal for funds to save the cathedral, which was starting to crumble.
— Anthony Dominic (@alloveranthony) April 15, 2019
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) April 15, 2019
France 24 reporting the roof has collapsed:
#NotreDame: 'The roof has entirely collapsed, there are flames coming out the back of the cathedral as if it was a torch'@charli, Journalist at France 24, at the scene of the fire. pic.twitter.com/2B0IrMiDcL
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) April 15, 2019
And now the spire, which is called “the arrow,” has collapsed:
— Paris Match (@ParisMatch) April 15, 2019
From the NY Times:
“It hurts to watch this. The cathedral is the symbol, the heart of Paris,” said Pierre-Eric Trimovillas, 32. The crowd gasped and cried in horror as the spire fell, Mr. Trimovillas said, adding, “Paris is beheaded.”
Angelique de Almeida, 32, watched the fire through tears. “We are going to lose her, everything is up in flames,” she said. “We lose this, we lose Paris. It is apocalyptic. And this is the Holy Week.”
President Trump has tweeted about the fire:
The Cathedral’s website has a section on framing which says the wooden frame was built between 1160 and 1240. Here’s a photo of what it looked like:
I’ll continue to update this story throughout the day.
Update: In the clips above the top portion of the Arrow collapsed. In this clip you can see the lower portion has also fallen:
— Sanja Modric (@SanjaModric) April 15, 2019
President Macron tweeted: “Notre-Dame de Paris is engulfed in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Our thoughts go to all Catholics and all French people. Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of us burning.”
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
Update: More reactions from France 24:
“Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,” said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s, who had biked over after being alerted of the fire by a friend. “It’s a tragedy,” he added. “If you pray, now is the time to pray.”
Police were attempting to clear pedestrians away from the two islands in the river Seine, including the Ile de la Cite which houses the soaring Gothic church. But throngs of onlookers kept trying to approach, snarling traffic as they massed on the stone bridges leading to the islands.
“It’s finished, we’ll never be able to see it again,” said Jerome Fautrey, a 37-year-old who had come to watch. “Now we need to know how this happened — with everything that’s going on in the world, why Notre-Dame? Maybe it’s a message from on high,” he said.
One police officer, arriving on one of the bridges, turned up to gape, saying “Oh my god.
France 24 reports that some of the money for the restoration which was underway had come from Americans:
As part of the restoration, some of the figures of saints were removed from the building last week:
From CBS (in 2011), an interesting story about how Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame (published in 1831) saved the cathedral after the French Revolution:
Update: Most of the stone structure remains intact.
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) April 15, 2019
Update: A billionaire commits $100 million Euros to rebuilding.
— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) April 15, 2019