Fire engulfs the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France on April 15, 2019.


Fire hits Notre Dame cathedral in Paris


DUBAI – A raging fire devastated France’s historic Notre Dame cathedral on Monday, causing its spire to collapse and raising fears over the future of the 850-year-old gothic masterpiece.

The spire was made of wood and lead and was built during a restoration in the mid-19th century. It toppled in the fire, which also spread to the cathedral’s historic bell towers.

Firefighters battled to control the blaze, which began at around 5:50pm local time (7:50pm in UAE) in the Île de la Cité, the island in the Seine, Paris where the cathedral is located.

“Everything is burning,” André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, told French media. “Nothing will remain from the frame.”

It is believed that the entire wooden interior of the 12th-century landmark was likely to be destroyed in the fire.

“There are a lot of art works inside…it’s a real tragedy,” mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene. Bronze statues, however, had been removed last week for restoration work.

Paris’ Deputy Mayor, Emmanuel Grégoire, said emergency services were trying to salvage any artwork and other belongings left in the cathedral.

The historic cathedral had been undergoing restoration work when the fire erupted. Initial police investigation linked the blaze to the restoration work. Paris prosecutor’s office said it had started an inquiry into the fire.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries, but police have cordoned off the area and closed several metro stations nearby.

Notre Dame is one of Paris’ major attractions and was featured in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, which was also made into a Disney film. GAD/Expat Media


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