8 Centuries of History Gone Up in Smoke

A devastating fire broke out at the Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15 that could be linked to the renovation work at the famed cathedral. People are crying in the streets of Paris as centuries of history go up in smoke.

A spokesperson from the Parisian fire department has commented that the fire in the world-famous cathedral began in the early afternoon and took seven hours from the contain despite increased attempts by firefighters to stop the flames.

There seem to have been multiple difficulties in putting out the fire, starting with the availability of fuel for the fire as the building has weathered 850 years and all woodwork is dry enough to be perfect tinder.

Additionally, firefighters on the scene had trouble accessing water as the main lines had been turned off for the construction efforts.

The Guardian reported that 20-year-old Camille, a history student at the Sorbonne said while standing at the police cordon: “There’s a feeling of total sadness and also anger. It’s our heritage. People in the crowd have been singing hymns. Whether you’re Christian or not, part of our history is going up in smoke.”

The fire is believed to have been accidental and may be related to the construction areas. The crews within the cathedral have been working on renovations to protect and preserve the cathedral for future generations.

Unfortunately, that seems to have been counter-intuitive as at 12:06 the entire central spire of-of Notre Dame collapsed backward on the rest of the building, one firefighter was injured as the spire fell.

The entire structure was surrounded by scaffolding as the renovation workers had removed the 16 statues representing the 12 apostles and four Gospel writers this past Thursday. The $6.8 million renovation project on the cathedral spire was to reinforce the spire to counteract weakening of the lead structure due to age.

The area surrounding the historical building has been evacuated by police as the spire fell. Live video from the scene has shown huge flames and thick clouds of black smoke pouring out of the building.

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” A Notre Dame spokesperson Andre Finot told French media.

Story by: Alexis J. Taylor

Photo by: Julien de Rosa and Thibault Camus