A massive fire consumed Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday (April 15), gutting the roof of the Paris landmark stunning France and the world, but firefighters managed to save the shell of the stone structure and its two main bell towers from collapse.
Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the eight centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof.
As it burned into the evening, firefighters battled to prevent one of the main bell towers from collapsing and tried to rescue religious relics and priceless artwork. One firefighter was seriously injured – the only reported casualty.
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and Archpriest of Notre Dame Cathedral Patrick Chauvet mourned the blaze.
The two paid tribute to the cathedral which has formed an important part of French history, with Hidalgo saying it was “a tragedy for the whole world.”
Chauvet confessed he was devastated by the fire.
Hidalgo praised the city’s solidarity in coming together to save the cathedral’s works of art and objects of worship, saying she had been able to work quickly with the Archpriest as well as the city of Paris and Minister of Culture Franck Riester.
Objects saved included the renowned centuries-old Crown of Thorns made from reeds and gold, believed by many to have been worn by Jesus, as well as the tunic of 13th-century king of France, Saint Louis.
Chavet, however, said it had been impossible to save some of the bigger paintings.
Firefighters managed to save the shell of the stone structure and its two main bell towers from collapse after the fire burst rapidly through the roof of the cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof. (REUTERS)