The flames developed in the afternoon on scaffolding, causing a threatening column of smoke to escape at first. Then the fire enveloped the roof and the spire, until they collapsed, around 8pm. For hours, the citizens of Paris and thousands of tourists watched the fire burn the cathedral erected over 800 years ago. Firefighters work with pumps and mobile cranes, powerless in an attempt to stop the impetus of the fire. As the hours passed and the sun went down, the fire colored Paris evening, and it also reached one of the iconic towers of the facade, which so far had been spared from the flames. "The next hour, hour and a half is decisive," a fire brigade representative, interviewed by BFM TV, said at 9.30pm. "There is a danger that everything will collapse," he added.
A cathedral spokesman reported that the entire roof structure is on fire: "Nothing will be left," he said. According to preliminary information, the fire developed on the scaffolding installed for conservation work. The fire was reported to the fire brigade at 18.50. The Paris Public Prosecutor announced the opening of an investigation.
The mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo, spoke of "terrible fire", and the entire area was evacuated. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, decided to postpone the speech to the nation that was originally scheduled for tonight, and went to the scene. "Like all our compatriots, I'm sad to see part of us go up in flames," Macron wrote in a tweet. The news went around the world and even the president of the United States, Donald Trump, wanted to comment on the fact. "It is terrible to watch the fire at Notre Dame. Perhaps – added Trump on Twitter – fire-fighting tankers could be used to extinguish the flames. We must act quickly!" To the words of Trump he answered indirectly the French Civil Protection: "Releasing water from an airplane on this type of building could cause the collapse of the entire structure".
On the spiers of Notre-Dame, the cathedral that falls to pieces
"A sacred place of the Catholic faith is burning," said the spokesman of the bishops of France. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "London shares the pain of Paris". Unesco issued a note to say that it is "alongside France to save and restore" the cathedral. "Our thoughts are with French friends," said the German chancellor Angela Merkel. "Huge sadness" was expressed by the Vatican.
The cathedral, in the heart of the French capital, is one of the Gothic constructions most famous in the world and is the most visited historical monument in Europe. It was built from the year 1163 to 1344. It has a Latin cross plan and two bell towers, where you could climb to enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The tall spire burnt by the flames was 45 meters high and was built in 1860. Just last year the French Catholic Church had launched an appeal to raise funds and start restoration work on the structure that had serious problems: they had been denounced for years some problems. The fire takes place on the first day of the Holy Week celebrations that lead to Easter.
Fire at Notre Dame, the images: flames and smoke envelop the cathedral
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