A massive fire ravaged the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday (15 April) evening,destroying the monument’s spire. The cathedral is regarded as one of Paris’ most iconic landmarks.
Several images and video posted on social media showed flames and smoke pouring from a spire of the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral.
According to preliminary reports, Church authorities believe that the cause of the fire is likely related to the restoration work on the cathedral that was in progress.
Paris fire officials announced that they have managed to save cathedral’s two main rectangular towers but much of the monument’s roof has been gutted along with the iconic spire.
The cathedral attracts some 13 million visitors a year. It was established during the 12th century and its structure was badly damaged during the French Revolution. It underwent major restoration in the mid-1800s.
Only last week, $6.8 million renovation project on the cathedral spire had commenced as the monument had fallen in to state of disrepair.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the fire at Notre Dame as the “emotion of an entire nation.”
Macron, after cancelling a planned speech, travelled to the scene of the fire accompanied by his Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
“Like all our compatriots, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” Macron wrote on Twitter.
US President Donald Trump expressed his condolence.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” he wrote. “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
The Vatican also expressed its shock at the massive fire.
“The Holy See has learned with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world,” the Vatican said in a statement.
“We express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the people of Paris. We pray for the fire fighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation”, the statement added.