The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has suffered a colossal fire that even caused the Gothic spire of the historic church to crash to the ground as firefighters battled to get the blaze under control.
400 firefighters battled to control the blaze and at least save the building’s iconic front towers. They finally gained the upper hand as midnight approached in Paris.
“We can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved” said the Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet in an AFP report.
Macron says “the worst had been avoided” in a fire that looked like it would engulf the entire building. He says that France is in shock over the damage to a building described as the “soul of the nation”.
On early inspection the blaze appears to have destroyed the roof of the 850 year old world heritage landmark. After the first few hours Parisians watched in horror as the church’s Gothic spire collapsed.
The fire came at a time when the Christian faithful were preparing to celebrate Easter, later this week.
The cause of the blaze has not yet been confirmed confirmed. The cathedral was undergoing restoration work at the time which fire fighters speculate could be linked to the blaze.
But already French prosecutors say the fire is being treated as an “involuntary” fire indicating that foul play has been ruled out at this stage.
Historians expressed disbelief at the collapse of much of a building that has been a symbol of France for 850 years and has withstood time, world wars and French revolutions.