Firefighters in Paris reported the catastrophic fire which heavily damaged Cathedral of Notre Dame has been extinguished. While no lives are believed to have been lost in the blaze, one firefighter suffered critical injuries at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Paris and across the globe, stunned spectators had watched in horror as cathedral burned Monday. The fire started in the evening, shortly after the building was closed to the public, and appears to have caused “catastrophic” damage to one of the world’s most famous cultural and artistic landmarks. French investigators indicated they believe the fire was not caused deliberately.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization — a specialized agency of the United Nations based in Paris, reported the Cathedral of Notre Dame is considered to be the finest example of French Gothic architecture, with an innovative use of rib vaults and buttresses, stained glass rosettes and sculpted ornaments. Construction of the church began in 1160 and continued over a century.
French authorities have not identified the cause of the fire, believed to have started in the roof near the base of a 300-foot tall spire. The cathedral has been under renovation, and some fear materials and scaffolding used in the work may have contributed to the conflagration.
Experts are currently assessing the extent of the damage. Preliminary reports indicate the cathedral’s twin bell towers are structurally sound. Firefighters worked to protect as much of the structure and its contents as possible, including the 3,000-pipe Great Organ which was extensively damaged. French president Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the Cathedral of Notre Dame in five years’ time.