ALL NEWS

Spire atop Notre Dame cathedral in Paris collapses in fire

Apr 15, 2019, 11:31 AM | Updated: 4:38 pm

(CNN) — Parisians raised their voices in song Monday night outside Notre Dame Cathedral as firefighters battled a massive blaze threatening one of France’s most revered attractions.

The fire burned for several hours Monday, causing the collapse of the iconic spire towering above the cathedral.

Consumed by flames, the spire leaned to one side and fell onto the burning roof as horrified onlookers watched.

By late Monday night, both of the cathedral’s towers were safe, said Laurent Nunez, secretary to the interior minister.

“The fire is now weaker. We are now in a time of cooling but both towers of the cathedral are safe,” Nunez told reporters at the scene.

At least one firefighter injured

For much of the day, flames and thick plumes of smoke billowed from the cathedral, including the bell tower and the spire. Rescue workers rushed to evacuate artworks.

It was not immediately known what caused the fire. The cathedral is surrounded by scaffolding amid construction work. Gallet said the initial call to emergency services notified authorities of a fire in the attic of the cathedral.

About 400 firefighters were mobilized to deal with the blaze, the French Interior Ministry said. Firetrucks had difficulty accessing the scene, located on an island in Paris, amid the daily afternoon rush hour. Police urged the public to avoid the area.

Firefighters atop cherry picker cranes sprayed water onto the church in an attempt to calm the flames.

One firefighter was seriously injured, Paris Fire Brigade Commander General Jean-Claude Gallet said.

‘Madness’

The fire, just days before Easter, was met with horror by Parisians and tourists.

Thibaud Binétruy, who lives in Paris, said he saw the smoke while walking home with a colleague and was gripped by the sight.

“When the spire fell, the crowd reacted with ohhh and ahh, but I guess most of them were just shocked silently,” Binétruy said. “It’s awful to see such a symbol disappearing in front of you. It’s been there for so many years and in a few minutes half of it disappeared … crazy. Paris without Notre Dame, madness.”

Patryk Bukalski was at a café near the cathedral when he started smelling smoke.

“A bartender said the Notre Dame is on fire, so I left and saw this horrible picture,” he said over Instagram.

He said people are standing outside, watching and crying.

“It’s horrible. It’s a symbol of Paris,” Bukalski said. “It’s just sad. I don’t know what more to say.”

Another witness, Anne Marie, spoke with tears in her eyes.

“In Paris, it’s a monumental symbol — every person with different religions are really moved and saddened,” she said. “Paris without the cathedral is not Paris anymore.”

The Vatican said the Holy See learned with “shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world.”

“We express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the people of Paris. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation,” the Vatican said.

A symbol of France

Notre Dame’s foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, and the cathedral was completed in the 13th century. Today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, Notre Dame is considered a feat of architecture as well as a major religious and cultural symbol of France.

Located in Île de la Cité, a small island in the middle of the city, the cathedral is one of Paris’ most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.

Even as it fell into disrepair over the centuries, it was the site of Napoleon Bonaparte’s coronation as emperor in 1804. The central spire was built in the 19th century amid a broad restoration effort, partly buoyed by the success of Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame” in 1831.

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.

French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a planned speech Monday night because of the Notre Dame fire, a spokesperson for the Elysee Palace said.

“Notre Dame of Paris in flames. Emotion for a whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” Macron said on Twitter.

Macron arrived at the scene, accompanied by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and first lady Brigitte Macron, as well as the Paris prosecutor, who has opened an investigation into the fire.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Notre Dame “is not only a majestic church, it is also a world treasure,” he said.

“Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God,” he said.

US President Donald Trump said it was a “terrible, terrible fire” and lamented the damage done to the historic cathedral.

“That’s beyond countries, that’s beyond anything,” he said. “It’s a part of our culture.”

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

A bill that could make its way to the Utah legislature in the 2023 session would require school dis...
Mark Jones

Potential redesign of new Utah State Flag emphasizes Native American tribes

Sen. Dan McCay (R-Riverton) is sponsoring a bill that would call for a slight redesign of the new Utah State Flag.
1 day ago
New Utah State Correctional Facility fails to give appropriate medication to inmates....
Mark Jones

Correctional officer assaulted at Utah State Correctional Facility

The Utah Department of Corrections says a correctional officer was assaulted Monday inside the Antelope Housing Unit at the Utah State Correctional Facility. The officer was hospitalized, but later released.
1 day ago
As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsan...
Devin Oldroyd

Unsheltered Utah opens warming tent for unhoused people to escape frigid temperatures

As temperatures in the state plummet far below zero, advocates with Unsheltered Utah built an unsanctioned makeshift warming tent Monday.
1 day ago
snow shovel driveway dialysis...
Mark Jones

Cold weather causes late start for Logan City School District Wednesday

The Logan City School District and the Cache County School District will be on two-hour late starts on Wednesday, Feb. 1.
1 day ago
A pair of bills in the Utah Legislature address if and how Utah teens could use social media. One w...
Lindsay Aerts

Bill would require parental permission for Utah teens to use social media

Two bills circulating at the 2023 Utah Legislative Session involve social media, parents, and their teens. A group of tech CEOs opposes one.
1 day ago
Centerville Police department...
Elizabeth Weiler

Centerville Police restate “guardian over warrior” mantra

"Our role in Centerville and in policing in general ... is as a Guardian instead of the Warrior" Sgt. Dingman said. "The relationships we build with the community and how they are treated by our officers is still a priority."
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Spire atop Notre Dame cathedral in Paris collapses in fire