We at Catholic Business Journal are in tears as we post news that the iconic 12th Century Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris is now fully engulfed in flames, its spire collapsed and the fire now advanced to the front of the Cathedral. UPDATE: Although the famed Cathedral sustained significant damage, including the collapse of the entire roof and the main spire and substantial damage to the rose windows, it is reported that the stone vault remains largely intact and the interior was described as ‘relatively untouched’. It is also reported that many artifacts were saved. More details forthcoming, also see curated links below.
Multiple eyewitnesses shared photos and videos of the cathedral throughout the nightmare.
Firefighters responded to an alarm raised shortly before 7pm, April 15, Parisian time, though from all live videos and eyewitness photos Parisian firefighters are ill-equipped to handle any fire of this magnitude or involving a structure of this height and volume. The historic spire of the cathedral, which stood 226 feet tall, collapsed shortly before 8pm, Parisian time.
The entire cathedral roof appears to have collapsed, while the fire continues to burn within the main structure.
Initial reports indicated that burning debris from the fire was falling in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, but local media are now describing the fire as contained with in the cathedral building itself.
Firefighting have cautioned that although the height of the flames appears has abated, the fire within the cathedral itself is not under control. Efforts were initially hampered by the height of the cathedral roof, which prevented emergency services from reaching the flames.
No injuries reported at this time
No announcement has yet been made concerning any injuries or fatalities resulting from the fire.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo issued a series of brief statements via Twitter saying that emergency responders are fighting to control the flames and appealing to local residents to keep the area clear to assist their efforts.
Officials have not yet determined what caused the fire, which is still burning. Both the fire department and city authorities have confirmed that invesitgations into the origin and cause of the fire will be opened as soon as possible.
Built between the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, the landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, receiving more than 12 million visitors each year.
The cathedral was undergoing some restorative work at the time the fire broke out, though it is unknown if the fire originated in the area of the work.
The fire comes after several weeks of vandalism and arson attacks on church buildings across France.
French President Emmanuel Macron released a statement on Twitter expressing the “emotion” of “the whole nation.”
Macron said his thoughts were with all Catholics and French citizens, saying: “Like all our compatriots, tonight I am sad to see a part of [all of] us burn.”
- Live updates – CNN
- Notre Dame Cathedral hit by major fire – excellent facts not noted by other publications – Outside the Beltway
- The Moment the spire collapses – Twitter video
- Early view of fire – Twitter
- Fire bursts out stained glass windows – Twitter