Spire of Notre-Dame de Paris collapses as tragic fire continues
Renovation work reportedly caused destructive blaze; spokesperson says "everything is burning" [video]
Renovation work is being reported as the cause of the massive fire that has engulfed the Notre-Dame de Paris, also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral, in France, and videos have emerged of firefighters tackling the blaze that has already caused the spire of the historic structure – built between 1163 and 1345 – to collapse, with President Emmanuel Macron expressing sadness for the tragedy.
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
According to a report by UK news website The Telegraph, officials said the fire started by accident, with the cathedral's surrounding area being cleared as its spire collapsed two hours after the blaze started.
The report added: "Officials in Paris said the fire, which started around 7pm local time, could be linked to renovation works being carried out at the cathedral."
Renovation work has also been cited by the Guardian as a possible cause of the fire, but it has yet to be confirmed whether restoration activities led to the blaze that is causing the 850-year-old architectural icon's disintegration.
According to the Guardian's report, Andre Finot, spokesperson for Notre-Dame de Paris, told French media: “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.”
On its Twitter account, France's Préfecture de Police – a department within the French Ministry of Interior that provides police, emergency, and administrative services – urged Parisians to clear the area and allow for the easy access of its rescue vehicles to the spot.
Wow, I was going to see this in the summer. Terribly sad to see such an iconic landmark which is hundreds of years old and full of history go up in flames just like that. Tragic. #NotreDame pic.twitter.com/W1v0hFV5II— Natalie Clarke. (@natclarkey) April 15, 2019
World leaders have expressed sorrow in light of the blaze, with Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, and Tom Watson, deputy leader of the UK's Labour Party tweeting in support of Parisians. US President Donald Trump described the fire as a "horrible" tragedy, adding that "flying tankers" might help douse the flames.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always.— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) April 15, 2019