The people of Paris had gathered on the banks of Seine. Many gasped and screamed as the spire towering over the iconic landmark collapsed in the fire.
The architecture we see around us are the remains of our past, an asset to our future generations, for them to learn from and enjoy the beauty of. To watch it go up in flames is heartbreaking. According to CNN, the historic Notre Dame Cathedral, an iconic landmark in Paris caught fire on Monday evening.
The massive fire occurred at 18:30 local time engulfed the roof of the cathedral, destroying its beautiful stained windows and wooden interiors. It further went on to destroy the iconic spire that towered over the 850-year-old Cathedral, people watched in dismay as it collapsed onto the structure. The fire caused during the Holy week has shaken the nation and its people.
The cathedral was in the middle of a renovation, due to which all the 16 famous statues were removed for repair last week. The fire, which is thought to have spread because of the renovation work, engulfed the top of the cathedral. The roof of the cathedral was also completely destroyed by the flames.
The impact of the fire was so huge that the spire, surrounded by scaffolding leaned to one side and tumbled down.
According to the CNN updates, firefighters struggled to put off the large flames that consumed the 13th-century cathedral, while the French police evacuated the nearby areas. In an attempt to save the historic cathedral, over 400 firefighters were mobilized to tackle the flames and billowing smoke.
The fire caused broke the hearts of Parisians who couldn't imagine their city without Notre Dame. “In Paris, it’s a monumental symbol -- every person with different religions are really moved and saddened," said a witness named Anne Marie, who was in tears while speaking to CNN. Videos that flooded Twitter and other social media recorded the reactions of people who couldn't believe what was happening. People gasped and screamed as they watched a symbol of their history burn down.
Hundreds of people gathered around the Seine watching the fire unable to control their emotions. Crowds gathered near the surrounding areas and sang together as they witnessed the building tumbling down in the fire. The grief-stricken residents of the city joined hands to sing the traditional Catholic prayer "Je vous salue Marie" (Hail Mary) and kneeled down in prayers to save the Cathedral.
“It hurts to watch this. The cathedral is the symbol, the heart of Paris. Paris is beheaded,” said Pierre-Eric Trimovillas, an eye witness to Times quoted People. Witnesses also said that ash and embers fell of the skies as the fire broke.
Located in Île de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most popular attractions in the world that draws about 13 million people in a year. For generations, it has been a place prayer, a symbol of French Catholicism. The cathedral, which stores important treasures such as a fragment of the Wood of the Cross and one of the nails used to crucify Christ serves as a place of pilgrimage to Christians around the world.
“Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French,” wrote President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter. The French President, who described the fire as a terrible tragedy also promised people that an International fundraising campaign to rebuilt the Cathedral will be launched.
French President Macron spoke at scene of Notre Dam fire “Notre Dam is part of our history and culture”. pic.twitter.com/wtq2epI9aO— Rasin Climis (@RClimis) April 15, 2019
“I’m telling you all tonight — we will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny. And we will do it in the next years. Starting tomorrow, a national donation scheme will be started that will extend beyond our borders," said Macron, reported CNN. Many celebrities and world leaders also reacted to the blaze and sent their heartfelt condolences to the nation through Twitter. The Vatican city also expressed its shock and sadness.
After hours of hard work to stop the iconic structure from falling apart, fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said the main structure had been "saved and preserved" from total destruction. However, the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into the fire incident.