850 Year-Old Notre Dame Cathedral Fire: Towers Saved But Suffers Damage

photo from google images

photo from google images

Jocelyn Reeder, Editor-in-Chief

On Monday, April 15th, a devastating fire burned for twelve hours in The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  Nearly 400 firefighters battled the flames, as Parisians and tourists from around the world watched in disbelief Monday evening as flames ravaged the world famous roof, causing Notre Dame’s spire to collapse. After a night of effort, firefighters were able to save the landmark’s main stone structure. The 18th century organ that boasts 8,000 pipes also appeared to have survived, along with other treasures inside the structure, officials said.  Cathedral Spokesman Andre Finot told French media that the Medieval wooden interior — an engineering and artistic marvel that has inspired awe and wonder for the millions who have visited over the centuries — had been gutted.

The fire began in the late afternoon, with yellow clouds of smoke billowing into an otherwise perfect blue sky and orange flames assaulting the belfry. As evening began to fall over the city, a gaping hole could be seen where the enormous vaulted roof once had been. The cathedral has been under renovation, and according to officials, they say the fire was an accident relating to the construction the building was receiving. No deaths or injuries have been reported.

Officials said that the iconic twin towers that frame the building’s grand entry had been saved, and that the exterior structure of the cathedral had been preserved.

Notre-Dame Cathedral’s construction started in the year 1163 and was completed in the year 1345. It was built on a small island called the Île de la Cité, the very heart of the city. The Notre-Dame Cathedral is considered a jewel of medieval Gothic architecture. Notre Dame is still a functioning Catholic church and the site of many important religious and ceremonial events. It attracts about 13 million visitors each year and is one the most popular monuments in all of France.

Donia Hammami, 35, a trade expert in Paris, stated, “For me, this has been an inspiration for so many other churches in Europe from the 14th century onward, in the way it came up with a way to mirror more light.”

A massive fundraising campaign was also underway Tuesday to rebuild the cathedral. At least $339 million has already been pledged. French billionaire Francois Henri Pinault pledged $113 million, while fellow billionaire Bernard Arnault and his LVMH group pledged $226 million.