Huge Blaze Devastates Iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Paris’ most visited tourist attraction – the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral – caught fire Monday afternoon. By nightfall the 850 year-old jewel of Gothic architecture turned into blazing inferno, RT reported.

The fire broke out at Notre-Dame around 18:50 local time (16:50 GMT), according to a member of the cathedral’s administrative staff. Huge plumes of thick smoke were seen billowing over rooftop of the 35-meter tall building. The exact place where the blaze started is unknown so far, although initial reports placed it amid the restoration scaffolding on the roof, near the spire. 

According to RT, fire has destroyed two thirds of the roof of the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, yet French firefighters remain cautiously optimistic that they may have managed to save its two towers from collapsing.

 “We can consider that the two towers of Notre-Dame are saved,” commander of the Brigade of firefighters in Paris, Jean-Claude Gallet, told reporters.

  “We can think that the structure is saved,” said Laurent Nuñez, Secretary of State to the Minister of the Interior. “We are much more optimistic than earlier, but we must remain cautious.”

Earlier firefighters expressed doubts the devastating fire at the Notre Dame cathedral (Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris) can be stopped and have not ruled out further collapse of the iconic landmark.

“We’re not sure we can stop the fire spreading into the northern bell tower – and you can imagine the damage if it collapses,” said Jean-Claude Gallet, the commander of the Paris firefighters. Over 400 people are combating the blaze.

Helicopter or plane, the weight of the water and the intensity of dropping it at low altitude could weaken the structure of Notre-Dame and cause collateral damage to surrounding buildings,” the French Civil Security tweeted.

A firefighter at the scene told Reuters that the main focus of the emergency workers is on saving work of arts from the back of the cathedral, as well as preventing the northern – left from the entrance – bell tower from collapsing.

‘French history on fire’

After the ‘worst case scenario’ was avoided and firefighters managed to save the Notre Dame’s structure from total destruction, President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to restore the historic cathedral to its former glory.

Macron said that the upcoming hours of extinguishing the blaze are going to be very difficult but the main structure of the building was saved.