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Blaze swallows the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Massive fire at France’s Notre Dame Cathedral

A major fire has engulfed the medieval Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, destroying the spire and roof of the 850 year’s old France’s landmark building.

The main structure and 2 bell towers have been saved from the massive destruction. The cause of the fire is still not clear. Paris’s Prosecutor’s Office has said that they have opened an inquiry into it.

The fire began at 18:30 hrs. (16:30 GMT) and quickly reached the roof of the cathedral, destroying its stained-glass windows and the wooden interior before toppling the spire. More than 500 firefighters took to prevent the bell towers from collapsing. A firefighter and 2 policemen were also seriously injured in the process. It took them 9 hours to stop the fire and save the main structure.

The President of France – Emmanuel Macron said, “Notre Dame is our history, it’s our literature, it’s our imagery. It’s the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations. This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel.”

He added, “I am telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders.”

According to fire brigade, the cause of building catching fire could be linked to the ongoing renovation work at the site. The cathedral was being renovated after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears that structure could become unstable.

Several parts of the cathedral were under scaffolding due to renovation. 16 copper statues were removed last week.

Watching their iconic building on fire, thousands of people gathered in the streets around the cathedral, reciting prayers. The other churches in the vicinity also rang their bells in response to the blaze. The last time the cathedral suffered damages was during the French Revolution. It remained unaffected during the 2 World Wars.

For the records, Notre Dame’s foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III and was completed in the 13th century. the cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage site and receives almost 13 million visitors each year.

Expressing her concern, the Prime Minister of United Kingdom (U.K.) – Theresa May tweeted, “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.”

The President of United States (U.S.) – Donald Trump said, “So horrible to watch massive fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly.”   

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