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notre dame cathedral fire

Notre-Dame Cathedral Consumed By Fire

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” reports Notre-Dame spokesman Andre Finot.

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An architectural tragedy is unfolding in Paris, where the 850-year-old Notre-Dame Cathedral has been engulfed in flames.

The Gothic icon — one of the French Capital’s most beloved landmarks — has been undergoing extensive renovations in recent months, and it is thought that the blaze was started by something related to the construction work. In the past few moments, the cathedral’s spire and roof — made almost entirely of wood — have collapsed.

The importance of Notre-Dame to the city of Paris cannot be overstated — the building sees around 13 million visitors a year, more than the Eiffel Tower. Patrick Galey, global science and environment correspondent for the AFP, is taking photos and videos of the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire as it unfolds:

The cathedral was begun in 1160 and largely completed by 1260, though it was modified frequently in the following centuries. In the 1790s, Notre-Dame suffered desecration during the French Revolution when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed.

A major restoration project supervised by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc began in 1845 and continued for twenty-five years. Beginning in 1963, the facade of the Cathedral was cleaned of centuries of soot and grime, returning it to its original color. Another campaign of cleaning and restoration was carried out from 1991–2000.

notre-dame cathedral fire

Image via Reuters

A Notre-Dame spokesman, Andre Finot, says the cathedral’s wooden interior is likely to be completely destroyed by the fire. “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” he told French media.

Meanwhile, French historian Camille Pascal told a local news station that the fire is destroying “invaluable heritage”.

“It’s been 800 years that the cathedral watches over Paris”, Mr Pascal said, adding: “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre-Dame.”

You can stay up to date with the Notre-Dame Cathedral fire and ongoing attempts to extinguish the blaze over on BBC’s live stream, available here.

Top image via the Chicago Tribune.

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