Notre-Dame Cathedral devastated by fire

The whole rooftop of the centuries-old building is gone, damage seems unrepairable

Notre-Dame Cathedral, centuries-old Parisian landmark, were severely devastated by a roaring fire on Monday, mere days before Easter, news wires reported. Flames began in the early evening bursting through the roof of the cathedral and engulfing the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof. A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.

The fire engulfing the cathedral were watched by Parisians, many of them lost for words. “Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” witness Jacek Poltorak said. “Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted. He cancelled an address to the nation that he had been due to give later on Monday evening.

Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame. All nearby buildings were evacuated. Nobody was injured, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said at the scene, adding: “It’s too early to determine the causes of the fire.” France 2 television reported that police were treating it as an accident. “Everything is collapsing,” a police officer near the scene said as the entire roof of the cathedral continued to burn.

The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year. The Gothic cathedral is famed for its many carved stone gargoyles, stunning stained glass windows and the flying buttresses that hold up its walls. “There are a lot of art works inside...it’s a real tragedy,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene.

The cathedral was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding and bronze statues were removed last week for works. The wood and lead spire was built during a restoration in the mid-19th century, according to the cathedral’s website.

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