Fire Engulfs World-Renowned Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
By Spectrum News Staff
PARIS — The world-renowned Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has been ravaged by a fire, and a French Interior Ministry official says firefighters may not be able to save the iconic building.
The damage may be catastrophic. Paris Fire Brigade Commander General Jean-Claude Gallet tells CNN that the next hour and a half will be critical for save what’s left of the cathedral.
An orange glow could be seen in the heart of the cathedral more than an hour after firefighters battled back the high flames.
“The bells of the cathedral are melting,” France Ambassador to the U.S. Gerard Araud told CNN.
The massive fire raged out of control for more than 15 to 20 minutes and took down the iconic spire, which had been undergoing renovation. Scaffolding had been up around it.
The Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into the fire, a spokesperson told CNN.
At the height of the fire, thick yellow and black smoke and bright orange flames billowed from the roof of the cathedral, which is surrounded by a large crowd of horrified onlookers, some of whom were crying in the streets.
Notre Dame, in the middle of Paris, is a huge tourist attraction right on the River Seine and is one of the most visited sites in France. The site dates back almost 1,000 years, and the cathedral is still in use as a church today.
“The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire.”
It’s unclear how many people were inside. Officials told the news agency France 24 that no one was killed.
Check back for updates on this breaking news story.
Fire unfolds on social media
Notre Dame cathedral is a major tourist attraction in the heart of Paris. It’s still used as a church. (Kate Fox/Spectrum News)