A major fire is destroying the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The spire and the roof are collapsed due to the flames. The fire broke out around 6:50 pm on the scaffolding (the first to burn and fall), which is used for an important restoration work begun a year ago and already destined to last until 2022. There are no injuries, but at the moment the fire does not seem tame. A spokesman for the Diocese of Paris said, contacted by the Associated Press agency, that the entire 13th-century wooden interior is burning and will probably be destroyed.
French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a planned speech tonight due to the horrific fire in central Paris, an Élysée Palace spokesperson said. “Notre-Dame de Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our compatriots, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn” says President Macron on Twitter.
The broadcaster BFMTV reports that the church was evacuated and around the fire brigade set up a large security perimeter. “A terrible fire is underway at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Paris firefighters are trying to tame the flames. We are mobilized on the spot in close connection with the diocese of Paris. I invite everyone to respect the safety perimeter,” states on Twitter the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who publishes some photos of the fire.
The entire Ile-de-la Cité, where the cathedral of Notre-Dame stands, is isolated, the tourists – very numerous – are on the other side of the Seine and stare at the flames. They were joined by different citizens, dozens of them in tears.
Notre Dame was constructed in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and was completed in 1345. The cathedral is a worldwide Parisian icon and site of some of the most important moments in the history of France. Henry VI of England was crowned inside the cathedral in 1431 and Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor of France inside the cathedral in 1804. The cathedral receives 12 to 13 million visitors a year and is home to countless paintings, sculptures and other works of art.
More information to follow.