One of Paris‘ most notable structures in the city was partially destroyed this morning as flames ripped through the Notre Dame Cathedral, only days before Easter. Thousands of people stood in the streets and gasped as they watched the spire collapse.
The first fire alarm went off around 6:30 PM and the cathedral was evacuated right as the last group of tourists were trying to get in for the day. According to eyewitnesses, the doors were abruptly shut without explanation and smoke began rising from the spire.
Moments later flames were visible and smoke filled the sky. Police rushed in and cleared the area as the city came to stand still and watched as their beloved cathedral slowly burn.
So far no injuries have been reported, which is amazing, since it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city of love. The cathedral get a reported 13 million visitors a year.
The historic building also houses numerous pieces of priceless artwork that emergency services attempted to salvage. The status of that art is unknown at this time. One positive bit of information – the copper statues representing the 12 apostles were removed from the building a few days ago and are safe and sound.
According to local media outlets, the Parisian police are treating the fire as an accident, but have yet to reveal the official cause of the flames.
French President Emmanuel Macron put out a mournful tweet about the incident and informed the public he has arranged to visit the scene later today.
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019