Notre Dame Cathedral fire, burning and collapse in Paris – live updates today
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Notre Dame Cathedral fire, burning and collapse in Paris – live updates today

Notre Dame cathedral suffers extensive damage in massive blaze

Notre Dame fire: What we know

  • A major fire erupted at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris Monday.
  • The cathedral, which was undergoing renovations, suffered extensive damage.
  • Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the blaze.
  • The fire has been brought under control.
  • No deaths have been reported.
  • Notre Dame construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.

The iconic spire at the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris collapsed after a major fire broke out Monday evening. Video showed part of the roof of the cathedral collapsing onto itself.

The flames were under control but still not extinguished, French Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez told a Tuesday morning news conference, the Reuters news agency reports.

Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters Monday evening he believed firefighters had managed to save the cathedral’s landmark rectangular towers from the blaze, Reuters said. There was still a risk that some of the interior structures could collapse, he said.

A Paris deputy mayor, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered “colossal damages.”

France’s president vowed to rebuild the landmark.

Parisian authorities said they were ruling out arson and possible terror-related motives as possible causes — at least at the moment — and treating the blaze as an accident, according to The Associated Press.

Historian on Notre Dame Cathedral’s significance

Kevin Murphy, professor and chair of the art history department at Vanderbilt University, told CBSN on Monday night to discuss its architecture and history of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

“It symbolizes the city of Paris, it’s a cathedral of Paris, but it’s also always been considered a cathedral of France,” Murphy said. “Its symbolism really resonates through its religious significance and its civil and national significance.”

Fire burns through Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral

French newspapers release front pages of devastating blaze

Many newspapers evoked strong emotion with their front pages, such as the headline of the Roman Catholic newspaper, “La Croix,” proclaiming, “Le coeur in cendres,” which translates to “heart in ashes” in English.

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Daily newspaper “20 Minutes” featured another heart-wrenching image of the cathedral ablaze with text, which translates to English as “Notre Dame Devastated.” Another daily paper, “Le Parisien,” will print the headline, “Our Lady of Tears” in French on their front page Tuesday.

Billionaire says he’ll help with cathedral’s reconstruction

French billionaire François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of the Kering luxury group, has pledged some $113 million toward rebuilding the Notre Dame Cathedral, according to a statement obtained by the AFP news agency.

Kering owns the Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent fashion brands, according to BBC News.

Cause under investigation

Authorities have not yet released any information on the cause of the fire and said it would be investigated. The fire may potentially involve renovation work that was being carried out at the site, the fire service said. Extensive scaffolding covered a portion of the roof as part of the $6.8 million project before the fire broke out.

The Paris prosecutors’ office ruled out arson and possible terror-related motives, and said it was treating it as an accident, The Associated Press reports.

​French President Macron: “We will rebuild”

French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation on Monday night. Macron called the fire a “terrible tragedy” and confirmed that the cathedral’s stone facade and two main towers avoided collapsing amid the destruction.

“I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders,” Macron said.

First look inside the burning cathedral

The first photos have been released showing the damage inside Notre Dame Cathedral caused by the fire Monday. One picture shows debris still smoldering around the altar, but the surrounding stonework appears intact.

Smoke rises around the alter in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris
Smoke rises around the altar in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral as a fire continues to burn in Paris, France, April 16, 2019.

Reuters


Another photo shows portions of the intricately carved vaulted ceiling collapsed as flames continue to burn above.

Flames are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, in the early hours of April 16, 2019.

Reuters


Fire a “tragedy for the world”

Christophe Girard, the deputy mayor of Paris in charge of culture, said the massive fire at the historic Notre Dame Cathedral is a “tragedy for the world.” He spoke with CBSN as the fire continued to burn, and said that some priceless paintings and other artifacts have been saved.

Paris deputy mayor calls Notre Dame fire a “tragedy for the world”

Dramatic photos of fire’s destruction

Dramatic videos and photos spread across social media on Monday showing the roof and spire of the nearly 900-year-old cathedral engulfed in flames and massive amounts of smoke billowing up from its roof.

The spire and roof collapsed, and the cathedral’s world-famous stained glass windows were destroyed.

The Ile de la Cité, the island in the Seine where the cathedral is located, was evacuated. Thousands of onlookers gathered along the banks of the river to watch the awful scene.

Fire burns Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris


Fire burns Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

36 photos

Priceless art and artifacts inside

Some of the treasures inside Notre Dame were reported saved, although officials have yet to release a full inventory of what was saved from the fire and what was lost. A centuries-old crown of thorns made from reeds and gold, and the tunic worn by Saint Louis, a 13th century king of France, were safely retrieved, Notre Dame’s top administrative cleric, Monsignor Patrick Chauvet said, according to Reuters. But firefighters had struggled to take down some of the cathedral’s large paintings in time, he said.

The Holy Crown of Thorns is displayed during a ceremony at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
The Holy Crown of Thorns is displayed during a ceremony at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in this file photo from March 21, 2014. The relic was woven from thorn branches believed to have been placed on Jesus Christ during the events leading up to his crucifixion.

Reuters


Notre Dame, or Our Lady, is considered the most famous Gothic cathedral ever built. Its picturesque stained-glass rose windows were made of hundreds of panes, depicting various biblical images like apostles and angels. Gargoyles and statues surround the cathedral.

Centuries of history burned in Notre Dame fire

Vatican expresses “great shock and sadness”

The Vatican expressed “great shock and sadness” about the fire at Notre Dame, which occurred during Holy Week leading up to Good Friday and Easter. It called the cathedral “a symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.”

In a statement, the Vatican said, “We express closeness to the French Catholics and the people of Paris and we assure our prayers for the firefighters and those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation.”

The Vatican issues statement about Notre Dame Cathedral fire: “We express closeness to the French Catholics and the people of Paris and we assure our prayers for the firefighters and those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation” https://t.co/1w6gZW4Wk2 pic.twitter.com/j39vjmIa7t

— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 15, 2019

President Trump: “It’s part of our culture”

President Trump commented on the fire Monday afternoon as he attended a roundtable conference in Minnesota. He called it “a terrible sight to behold.”

“It’s one of the great treasures of the world,” he said. “It’s part of our culture, it’s part of our lives. That is a truly great cathedral and I’ve been there, I’ve seen it, and there is… no cathedral in the world like it. It is a terrible scene.”

The president added, “It looks like it’s burning to the ground.”

Trump calls Notre Dame fire a “terrible sight to behold”

Former President Obama on mourning and rebuilding

Former President Barack Obama posted a photo of his family visiting Notre Dame along with a message that said, “Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”

Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can. pic.twitter.com/SpMEvv1BzB

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 15, 2019

Notre Dame Cathedral’s epic history

Notre Dame was constructed in 1163 during the reign of King Louis VII and was completed in 1345. The cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a worldwide Parisian icon and the location 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 nearly 13 million visitors a year and is home to exquisite religious artifacts, paintings, sculptures and other priceless works of art.

It had been undergoing renovations after cracks began to appear in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable. CBS News’ Roxana Saberi reported in March 2018 that years of rain, snow and pollution had eroded the flying buttresses that prop the cathedral up.

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is falling apart

James Shepherd, director of preservation and facilities at the Washington National Cathedral, spoke with CBSN on Monday about Notre Dame’s epic history.

“That’s 800 years of history of people pilgrimaging there, and worshiping there, and the accumulation of culture,” Shepherd said by phone. “All of that will have to be taken into consideration as they try to repair this church and save it after this devastating fire.”

Shepherd spoke of Notre Dame’s “stunning and exclusive stained-glass windows,” which appear to have been destroyed in the fire. He called them “absolutely priceless and some of the best examples of European stained-glass windows.”

“This is a culturally devastating moment for the city of Paris, the country and the world,” Shepherd said.

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