Fire engulfs Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

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Fire engulfs Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

catholicnewsagency.com

The Cathedral Notre-Dame is on fire, according to the Paris fire department. Multiple eyewitnesses shared photos and videos of the cathedral with visible plumes of smoke and flames across the cathedral’s roof.
Firefighters responded to an alarm rasied shortly before 7pm, April 15.

The historic spire of the cathedral collapsed shortly before 8pm. The entire cathedral roof appears to have collapsed, while the fire continues to burn within the main structure.

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 strenuous efforts are under way to control the flames and appeals to local residents to keep the area clear to assist the efforts of firefighters.

Initial reports indicate that burning debris from the fire is falling in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral. Firefighting efforts were initially hampered by the height of the cathedral roof, which prevented emergency services from reaching the flames.
Officials have not yet determined what caused the fire, which is still burning.
.
The landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world. The fire comes after several weeks of vandalism and arson attacks on church buildings across France.

Built between the 12th through 14th centuries, the landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, receiving nearly 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 cathedral features in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. It attracts millions of tourists every year.

Notre-Dame was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding and bronze statues were removed last week for works.

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.

"Like all our compatriots, tonight I am sad to see a part of [all of] us burn."

Macron is expected to arrive at the scene of the fire at a later time.

Al Jazeera's Natacha Butler, reporting from Paris, said she saw tears streaming down the face of some onlookers.

"The cathedral is a French icon, it is a symbol of Paris all over the world," she said. "To see it in flames is extremely sad for so many people."

Claire, 15-years-old onlooker, told Al Jazeera crying: "Notre Dame is the heart of Paris and I came as soon as I heard. This is our heart and it is disappearing in the flames. What do we have left?"

"Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before," said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s.
"It's a tragedy," he added. "If you pray, now is the time to pray."

A woman passed by, tears running from behind her glasses, too overwhelmed to speak to reporters.

"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.

Notre Dame is distinguished for its size, antiquity and architectural interest.

"It's a devastating image because Notre Dame, Paris and France play a key role in the history of European Christendom, that is second only to Rome and the Vatican," Massimo Faggioli, a professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University, told Al Jazeera.

"This is really a fire at the heart of Christianity."

Mon, 04/15/2019 - 20:56
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