Notre Dame cathedral's spire collapses as roof engulfed by fire

Erika Holt
April 18, 2019

"I extend my honest admiration to the emergency services who have risked their lives to try to save this important national monument". Monsignor Patrick Chauvet, the top administrative cleric at Notre-Dame, said at the scene. They finally gained the upper hand as midnight approached.

The cathedral also houses the grand organ, one of the world's most famous musical instruments, as well as the Crown of Thorns, a relic of the passion of Christ.

Followingthe demise of Napoleon's empire in 1815, France - and Notre Dame - lapsed into neglect and turmoil. We never thought it could burn. "It's just sad. I don't know what more to say".

"Dear friends", Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit tweeted in French Monday.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately confirmed. It is reported that there were extensive building works being carried out there, but there is no information yet as to what may have actually caused the fire. The minister said the cathedral's greatest paintings would be removed starting Friday.

Notre Dame's foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, and the cathedral was completed in the 13th century.

TRT World speaks with art historian Elizabeth Lev.

"Paris without Notre Dame.madness". Officials later said teams had managed to salvage an unknown quantity of the cultural treasures. French companies Total and L'Oreal each pledged 100 million euros.

It is loved by Parisians, by French people, indeed people all around the world.

"The destruction of this masterpiece of architecture is a catastrophe for the entire humanity", said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Former Montrealer Jennifer Leblanc is staying with a local family as she visits Paris and said that the building means a lot to them and the country.

"Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out", suggested the USA president.

"It's a part of our growing up, it's a part of our culture, it's a part of our lives", Trump said of the landmark.

Following Trump's tweet, the French civil protection service responded that the one thing it was not contemplating was using aerial tankers, which dump enormously heavy loads of water, usually on wildfires.

The result was a work of such beauty that when revolutionaries of the Paris Commune wanted to destroy the cathedral in 1871, several artists talked them out of it. Its bells rang out calling all Parisians to celebrate the end of the Second.

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"It's terrible. It's a symbol of Paris", Bukalski said.

CONSTRUCTION: The building stands on the Île de la Cité, a small island in Paris' Seine River. Emotion of a whole nation. The main structure is 211 feet high (64 meters high).

Jean Luc Thebaud, a worker at the restaurant who previously lived in Paris, said people could feel the church's presence throughout the city.

The 12th-century Gothic church was undergoing renovation.

Elena Casas joins TRT World and reports from French capital.

As darkness fell, some 400 firefighters then battled to control the fire and save at least its iconic front towers. Castellanos offered prayers to the French people and all those affected by the fire.

"The cathedral has been a symbol of the heart of Paris since the Middle Ages", said Lisa Bitel, professor of history and Dean's Professor of Religion at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

The Paris police department in a tweet called on residents to avoid the area and to "make way for rescue vehicles".

Hundreds of people gathered on the bridges of Paris to witness the scene, many filming the images with their smartphones.

A burning smell filled the air and the evening sky lit up bright orange as the massive fire tore at Notre Dame Cathedral. The so-called "bourdon", the largest bell, goes by the name of "Emmanuel". More voices joined an unceasing communal hymn sung mostly a cappella, though accompanied at one point by two violins.

Most of the original stained glass windows were long ago destroyed, according to Cohen.

Ashley Huntington, 21, an American student studying in Paris, said: "You could just get close and see the smoke".

"Deeply saddened by the news of the fire at Notre Dame".

Last week, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak of the building for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning and therefore escaped the blaze.

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