Notre Dame, Paris’s historic and most iconic cathedral, is on fire. The cathedral is undergoing renovations at the moment, which some speculate might be related to the cause of the fire.
Firefighters are trying to contain a “terrible fire” according to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
The Associated Press is reporting the roof at the back of the cathedral, behind the cathedral’s nave, is in flames. Yellowish-brown smoke and ash are filling the air.
The fire has caused French President Emmanuel Macron to cancel his evening plans, which were to address the French people.
The fire will likely affect the Holy Week schedule the cathedral was planning on following.
It is unclear at this time how the fire started or the extent of the damage, although the firefighters working to put out the flames have reason to believe it is “potentially linked” to the renovation project involving the cathedral’s spire. The good news is they do not believe anyone has been killed in the fire. Parisians and visiting tourists are posting images on social media showing the flames in the sky and lamenting the damage to the historic building.
Several people are posting videos of part of the cathedral’s iconic spire collapsing.
The arrow of Notre Dame , in flames, collapses 😢 pic.twitter.com/9LNSBExXRn
— ß۞ɢʜᴏsᴛ〰〰ʀıᴅᴇʀ (@Sainsburyfree) April 15, 2019
Besides being an icon of Gothic architecture, Notre Dame is also home to some Christian relics, including what is believed to be a piece of Jesus’ cross and the Crown of Thorns. While scientific tests to prove the authenticity of the Crown of Thorns and the cross have been inconclusive, scores of Christians and non-Christians flock to the cathedral each year to view them. The relics are taken out for viewing the first Friday of every month and every Friday during Lent.
Despite the general apathy or even outright anger at the Catholic church at the moment, the general mood toward the damage to the cathedral is sadness and concern. More than being seen as a church structure, the cathedral represents Paris and Gothic art. It’s truly a sad sight to see it engulfed in flames.