Notre-Dame flames in the sky - VIDEO | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

22 April, Monday


Notre-Dame flames in the sky - VIDEO

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On Monday early evening, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was engulfed by fires. 

 A massive fire consumed Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday, gutting the roof of the Paris landmark and stunning France and the world, though firefighters saved the main bell towers and outer walls from collapse before bringing the blaze under control.

The fire began around 6.50 pm (5.50pm UK time).

"I was not far away, I saw the smoke. At first, I thought it was the Hotel-Dieu (hospital) but then I realized it was the cathedral. When I arrived, ash was beginning to fall," said Olivier De Chalus, head volunteer guide of the cathedral.

Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the eight-centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof.

The fire, after burning for about 8 hours, was largely extinguished by 03:00 CET on Tuesday. Earlier, in addition to battling to prevent one of the main bell towers from collapsing, firefighters tried to rescue religious relics and priceless artwork. One firefighter was seriously injured - the only reported casualty.

Hundreds of firefighters tackled the historic blaze through the night, battling to stop it wreaking complete destruction of the treasured facade after flames torched the roof, sending its spire crashing to the ground before crowds of horrified Parisians.

The cause is not yet clear but officials say it could be linked to extensive renovation works underway.

Paris prosecutor's office said it was currently being investigated as an accident. A firefighter was seriously injured while tackling the blaze.

 

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that "we will rebuild" Notre-Dame and expressed relief that "the worst had been avoided" in a fire that risked bringing the entire edifice down.

The fire, which came as Catholics prepare to celebrate Easter, sent orange flames and clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky as stunned Parisians and tourists watched on in horror.

Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez, also present at the scene, said that for the first time "the fire had decreased in intensity" while still urging "extreme caution".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he felt a "sadness beyond words" but added the fire services "were still fighting... heroically, to save what can be saved".

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre-Dame cathedral a "symbol of European culture" as the blaze raged.

"Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!" he said.

 

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The first stone of the Notre-Dame de Paris (“Our Lady of Paris”) cathedral was laid in 1163 in the reign of Louis VII, as the medieval city of Paris was growing in population and importance, both as a political and economic center of the kingdom of France.

Construction would continue for much of the next century, with major restoration and additions made in the 17th and 18th century. The stonework and stained glass of the edifice recreate images and lessons from the Bible.

Dominating the structure are its two 13th century bell towers. The so-called “bourdon”, the largest bell, goes by the name of “Emmanuel”.

The 387 steps up to the towers take visitors past the gallery of chimeras, mythical creatures typically composed of more than one animal. The most famous of these, the “Stryge” gargoyle sits atop the cathedral watching Paris with its head resting in its hands.

 Victor Hugo used the cathedral as a setting for his 1831 novel, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. Quasimodo, the main character, is feared by Parisians because of his deformity but finds sanctuary in the cathedral and is employed as a bell-ringer. Quasimodo has been portrayed by Hollywood actors including Charles Laughton and also in an animated Disney adaptation.

Damaged parts of cathedral

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