This is an extremely difficult intervention for firemen. Most of the areas burning edge the Seine river so they are struggling to find places to position the water hoses. And the height of the roof makes it difficult to reach.
Since officials are blaming the fire on an ‘accident’ related to the renovations…just imagine renovating one of the world’s most historic landmarks then accidentally burning it to the ground.
The neighborhood around the cathedral has been evacuated and Macron is reportedly on his way to the scene. Huge crowds have gathered around the banks of the Seine to watch in amazement as the cathedral burns.
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Update: President Trump has weighed in on the blaze, urging parisian officials to act quickly to save the cathedral.
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
At this point, firefighters attacking the blaze are treating it as an accident somehow related to the “massive” construction happening at the cathedral, which was being renovated. Police later confirmed that the fire was an accident linked to the renovation work. The cathedral had been undergoing a $12.5 million renovation financed by the French state, after the Catholic church in France launched an “urgent” campaign to raise funds for the renovation, because the cathedral was starting to crumble.
Cracks had started appearing in the stone at the cathedral, sparking fears that it could become unstable, according to the BBC.
If there’s a silver lining, many of the historic statues were removed by crane just last night.
Meanwhile, the fact that the cathedral caught fire at the beginning of holy week, a time when catholic tourists have flocked to the city, added a layer of irony to the fire.
At this point, it looks like the cathedral’s spire has been totally destroyed.
French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a policy speech to attend to the disaster. He had been planning to address the nation to announce plans to address the concerns of the gilet jaune protest movement. Monday night but that speech has reportedly been cancelled.
A spokesman for the cathedral said the fire began around 6:30 pm local time, or around 1:30 pm ET.
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It’s unclear how it started or what, exactly, is going on, but the historic Notre Dame cathedral caught fire on Monday, and photos and video circulating on social media suggest that conflagration has engulfed the historic monument.
The cause of the fire at the 856-year-old cathedral isn’t yet clear – though officials said it could be linked to renovation work. Parts of the roof and the cathedral’s skyline-definiing spire were alight, though the true extent of the blaze was difficult to discern. Construction on the cathedral began in 1163 and was completed in 1260. Today, it is the most visited tourist attraction in Paris, drawing 12 million visitors per year, beating out the Eiffel Tower. The cathedral is considered the finest example of French Gothic architecture.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted about the “terrible fire” and asked people to stay away: “A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The @PompiersParis are trying to control the flames. We are mobilized on the spot in close connection with the @dioceseparis. I invite everyone to respect the security perimeter.”
Un terrible incendie est en cours à la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Les @PompiersParis sont en train de tenter de maîtriser les flammes. Nous sommes mobilisés sur place en lien étroit avec le @dioceseParis. J’invite chacune et chacun à respecter le périmètre de sécurité. pic.twitter.com/9X0tGtlgba
The situation is a terrible tragedy as one of the most revered monuments in all of Catholicism looks like it could be completely destroyed, a historical tragedy that would be practically unrivaled in modern times.