Developing Story: Notre Dame Is Burning

The Peacock Plume

The Notre Dame of Paris is on fire.


Update: According to the interior ministry of France, it is a possibility that the historical cathedral might not be able to be salvaged.

A fire broke out at Notre Dame shortly after it closed to the public after 6:00 pm on Monday, April 15th, according to The Telegraph. Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has described it as a “terrible fire.”

Online footage has shown a massive fire engulfing the 850-year-old building. Students at the American University of Paris, some who live near the Notre Dame, have witnessed the fires, which is in the main part of the cathedral. Everyone has been evacuated, and firefighters are starting to close off the surrounding area. The cathedral is still on fire as firefighters struggle to put out the flames in the nave of the building.

Notre Dame on fire on the left bank of the Seine. Image Credits: Basia Diagne.

The roof of the iconic building has collapsed as the central spire became engulfed in flames. Firefighters were fighting traffic in order to arrive at the scene.

The medieval structure of the interior of the building has been completely destroyed due to the tragic fires. One of the rose windows towards the west flank of the structure has been completely destroyed. Due to the low melting point of the metal inside the medieval structure, many parts of the iconic cathedral have been gravely damaged.The cathedral earlier in the day as the fire began covering large parts of the building.

No casualties or deaths have been reported by the French armed and police forces as the firefighters continue combatting the flames that are still engulfing the interior of the building.

There were reports and videos of a small fire in one of the central bell towers of the building, but it did not escalate and firefighters are currently putting out with one of the water cannons.

The roof in which a replica of the original 19th-century spire that sat atop of it was composed of the original medieval wood that was used when it was erected. This is an enormous loss, historically speaking, of the invaluable structure.

Parisians and tourists alike in the area are mourning the loss of the iconic building as the international community sends their condolences and many “Je suis desolée” Tweets as the building continues to be engulfed in flames. Many Parisians mourn the loss of the historic structure due to its longevity and endurance through the French revolution and both World Wars.

According to one of the priests of the church, Père Frédéric, quoted by the French journalist Nicolas Delesalle, all the relics of the cathedral have been saved, including the crown of thorns and Holy Sacraments.

The fire is believed to be caused by current renovations in the building. More to follow.

Story by: Katerina McGrath & Fernanda Sapiña

This story is from The Peacock Plume at the American University of Paris.