Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most beloved Gothic landmarks in Paris and Europe, is engulfed by flames this evening as a major fire broke out on the cathedral’s roof. As detailed by The Guardian, it is believed that the fire may be linked to restoration works currently underway. Video footage below shows the iconic spire of the 850-year-old Gothic building collapsing, with fears that the cathedral’s wooden interior is under threat. Reuters is also reporting that the entire roof of the cathedral has collapsed, while the cathedral’s three medieval rose windows have reportedly exploded in the intense heat. In a glimmer of hope, fire officials have confirmed that the main structure has been “saved and preserved.”
The fire broke out on Monday evening at 17:50 local time, with flames bursting through the roof of the cathedral. Smoke and ash were reported across the city over a large area as flames moved towards the cathedral’s two bell towers. The fire has claimed the cathedral’s spire, a 19th-century addition constructed of a wood and lead structure. The French President Emmanuel Macron is attending the scene, having canceled a planned speech to the nation. There are currently no reports of deaths, however one fireman has been seriously injured.
Construction on the cathedral, which is considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe, began in 1163. The structure was completed in 1345, and now hosts 13 million people every year, an average of over 30,000 per day. The cathedral is currently undergoing renovations after cracks began to appear in the stone, prompting fears that the structure may be unstable. Last week, bronze statues were removed from the cathedral while work was underway.