Paris: Notre Dame Cathedral on Fire

A massive fire that broke out at the historic Notre-Dame cathedral in the center of Paris left most of the roof destroyed, though the famous bell towers seem to have been saved.

One firefighter has been seriously injured, while most of the art collection has also been saved as the fire starts to die down.

The fire was declared at 6:50 p.m. Paris time. The collapse of the cathedral’s iconic spire was captured on video.

Notre-Dame is the most-visited monument in Europe, with 14 million visitors a year.

AFP reported that the Paris fire department said the blaze was “potentially connected” to a $6.8 million renovation project currently under way. Extensive scaffolding can be seen along the roof line. The Paris prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation to look into the causes of the fire which are still uncertain at this point, according to Le Monde newspaper, however they are not considering arson or terrorism at this time.

Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. – A major fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky, the fire service said. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year, where renovations are currently underway. (Photo by Hubert Hitier / AFP) (Photo credit should read HUBERT HITIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Notre-Dame cathedral, which was preparing for huge crowds as Easter week begins, is located on the Ile de la Cite, one of two islands in the Seine river that runs through the heart of Paris. The roof is engulfed in huge flames, which are quickly covering the skies of Paris in thick smoke.

Hidalgo tweeted, “I do not have strong enough words to express the pain that I feel when I see #NotreDame being ravaged by flames. Tonight, all Parisians and Frenchmen mourn this emblem of our common history. From our motto, we will find the strength to rise back up.”

French president Emmanuel Macron said, “Our Lady of Paris is in flames. Emotion for the whole nation. A thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.

Firefighters are currently attempting to save some of the artwork stored in the cathedral.

Numerous films and TV shows have been based on Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.