- The world-famous Notre-Dame Cathedral is in flames in the French capital, Paris.
- The fire department said the fire had broken out in the attic of the 12th-14th century church.
- There are no indications of the cause of the fire or information about possible victims.
A fire broke out on Monday night at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Images on French television and social media featured a large column of smoke and huge flames above the Paris landmark. Firefighters told the French newspaper Le Figaro, the fire broke out in the roof of the world-famous church. At 6.50 pm, first reports were received on the fire.
On the Pont Saint-Michel gather around 20 o'clock the onlookers, they film the fire with their cell phones, when suddenly a cry goes through the crowd: "Oh my God!" Most of them are tourists. The wind has just turned, the cloud of smoke over the church is turning black and over the people on the bridge a rain of ash and small sparks of fire settles down. Policemen are screaming to push the pedestrians on the sidewalks, but even when the street is clear, no one wants to pass by. The motorists stopped – and stare at the cathedral, which is a landmark of the French capital. In the street, people put handkerchiefs and scarves in front of their mouths. Not only because the smoke bites. But also because many cry. Notre-Dame is not only located in the geographic center of Paris, it is also a heart. The memory of France's Christian roots, its centuries-long history, its first golden age.
Macron says a planned speech
Videos will be circulated on Twitter on Monday evening, showing the cathedral's main nave ablaze. The fire beats through the roof, high clouds of smoke rise in the sky. On some videos you can see that the roof over the main nave has partially collapsed. The tower above the central nave, behind the two iconic twin towers, has also collapsed. André Finot, church spokesman for Notre-Dame, said the entire wooden interior will burn. "Everything is burning," he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed an important televised address for the evening because of the brand. This confirmed the Élyséal Palace on Monday evening shortly before the originally scheduled broadcast date. When Macron wants to hold the speech on the results of the months-long civil debate now remained open initially.
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, spoke in a first opinion of a "terrible fire". People in the city should respect the established security area. Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect of the Department of Historic Monuments in Paris, told the newspaper Le ParisienAt the time of the disaster, there was no worker on the roof – the cathedral is currently being extensively renovated for around 60 million euros. Whether there are still people around the church at the time of the fire is unclear.
People try to calm each other
As the crowd of onlookers grows, the flames also seem to be getting bigger. The smoke eventually becomes so dense that one of the two towers can no longer be seen. For this, the red of the fire shines through the Gothic arches that connect both towers. Next to it you can see the outlines of the gargoyles. A Frenchman wipes the ashes off his wool coat and curses. Next to him, people push their children through the crowded people. Again and again, a small cry goes through the crowd. Every time. when the wind reaches back into the fire, when it does not look like the fire is under control. On their camera displays, people zoom closer to the burning church to reassure each other, showing each other that the people you see climbing around on the roof are wearing helmets. That the fire department works, even if the smoke is not less.
Notre-Dame is more than 850 years old and perhaps the most famous Parisian landmark next to the Eiffel Tower. Almost 200 years passed until completion. The cathedral is visited by millions of people every year. Their history goes back to the middle of the 12th century. When the fire broke out, a scaffolding was built around the church due to the renovation. Only a few days ago, 16 copper statues were lifted from the towers.
The dimensions of the gothic-style church, consecrated to the Virgin Mary, with its two majestic towers, are enormous: 127 meters long, 40 meters wide and up to 33 meters high. Nearly 10,000 people find space in it. With his 1831 published historical novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" immortalized Victor Hugo the cathedral in literature.