At 6:20 p.m. on Monday, April 15, a fire alarm began to sound within Paris’ ancient Notre Dame Cathedral. The people of Paris gathered as smoke rose from the soaring structure. Together, they watched the church burn and crumble for nine hours until it finally came to stop.
The fire has since been deemed an accident and believed to be caused
from the renovation being completed at the time. Over 400 firefighters rushed to the scene to help. Despite the monstrous fire, no one was killed. Only one firefighter was injured among the masses that showed up.
As the building was burning, watchers around the countries lent their support. The Vatican released a statement showing their solidarity.
“The Holy See has seen with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and the world,” the Vatican said.
President Trump also commented on the fire as it was happening.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump tweeted.
Soon after Trump tweeted, the French civil defense department was quick to respond, explaining that said water tankers would cause the collapse of the entire structure.
Construction for the Cathedral of Notre Dame began in the 12th century and was completed nearly 200 years later. Through the French Revolution and both world wars, it remained standing. With all of the history in the building, it means so much to the people of France and to the rest of the world. So as it burned, the masses surrounding it sang, prayed and cried.
As soon as the last of the fire went out, people went in to examine the damage. To many’s surprise, much of the structure was still intact. The famous towers at the front remained untouched. However, the spire collapsed and altered Paris’ skyline forever. The roof was ruined, but the interior of the cathedral had little damage.
Despite the lack of complete destruction, the cost to fix the damage is still high. In result, people around the globe have been quick to donate. The three richest families of France came together and pledged over $700 million to rebuild Notre Dame. Others including Apple, The French Heritage Society of New York and the University of Notre Dame have contributed to the fund.
The French President Emmanuel Macron has plans for the Cathedral to be rebuilt “even more beautifully” than before. With all the funding coming in, he hopes to have the renovation of the beloved building completed within five years.