Notre Dame fire: What we know so far

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Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RC1AC7F22C50

A massive fire consumed the Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, gutting its roof and stunning France and the world.

Firefighters saved the main bell towers and outer walls from collapse before bringing the blaze under control early on Tuesday.

Here is what we know so far:

What happened at Notre Dame?

  • On Monday evening 16:50 GMT a fire broke out in the attic of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
  • The blaze consumed the roof and the eight-centuries-old cathedral’s spire for more than eight hours before firefighters brought it under control, saving its bell towers and outer walls.
  • The destroyed roof was one of the oldest such structures in Paris, according to the cathedral’s website.
  • By the early hours of Tuesday, at 10:00 local time (08:00 GMT) the fire service said the fire was extinguished.
  • About 500 fighters battled the blaze. One firefighter was seriously injured – in the only reported casualty.

What was saved?

  • The Paris fire brigade chief, Jean-Claude Gallet, said the structure, including its two front towers, was saved “and preserved as a whole”.
  • Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said at the scene that some of many artworks that were in the cathedral were rescued and were being put in safe storage.
  • The Holy Crown of Thorns and a sacred tunic worn by 13th-century French king Louis, two irreplaceable artefacts, were rescued.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said the worst has been avoided, but warned the fire would likely continue to burn for several days, saying: “The battle is not yet totally won.”

Investigation

  • The cause of the fire is still not known and authorities are continuing their probe into how it started, French junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said on Tuesday.
  • The Paris prosecutor’s office said it was treating the fire as an accident, ruling out arson.
  • The initial call to emergency services notified authorities of a fire in the attic, according to reports.
  • The site was undergoing renovations.

What happens now?

  • Groups and individuals are mobilising to help rebuild the damaged parts of the cathedral. Hundreds of millions have already been pledged.
  • The Fondation du patrimoine, a heritage organisation, will launch a “national collection” for the reconstruction of Notre Dame, Anne Le Breton, deputy mayor of the French capital’s 4th arrondissement, said.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said a “national undertaking” would be launched, and that “far beyond our borders, we will appeal to the greatest talents… who will contribute, and we will rebuild”.
  • French President Emmanuel Macron said a “national undertaking” would be launched, and that “far beyond our borders, we will appeal to the greatest talents… who will contribute, and we will rebuild”.

Reactions

People from all around the world reacted, and shared their thoughts on social media

US President Trump said it was horrible to “watch”:

UN Secretary Antonio Guterres said that he was “horrified” by the images coming out of Paris.

EU Council President Donald Tusk expressed his condolences after the fire broke at the cathedral.

Former US President Barak Obama said that Notre Dame was one of the world’s great treasures.