NOTRE Dame cathedral could be destroyed in hours after firefighters struggle to contain a massive inferno which has wrecked part of the iconic landmark this evening.
Dramatic drone pictures show the devastation caused by the savage blaze which has already laid waste to the 850-year-old Parisian church’s spire.
Aerial drone pictures show the devastation caused by the Notre Dame inferno[/caption]
Officials in Paris say that the blaze could destroy the 850-year-old medieval church[/caption]
The fire erupted at the top of the medieval church this evening[/caption]
France’s interior ministry said that firefighters may not be able to save the medieval building while Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot said: “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.”
Emmanuel Gregoire, the deputy mayor of Paris, said the cathedral had suffered “colossal damages” and that emergency workers were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored inside.
A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior was burning and likely to be destroyed.
Scaffolding that had been set up around the building has been decimated along with large parts of the Cathedral itself, including the spire, which dates back to the mid-19th Century.
A “stray flame” linked to £5 million renovation work is thought to have sparked the inferno in the loft at around 5.30pm local time.
“It appears that it all began as a relatively small fire linked to a stray flame in the roof,” said an emergency services source.
“The fire was so high up that it was difficult to get to, meaning it soon spread across the roof, causing a terrible blaze.”
Police said no deaths have been reported although a firefighter has been “seriously injured” while battling the blaze, according to reports.
A fire department spokesman said the next 90 minutes are “crucial” in the fight to contain the rampaging inferno.
As the blazed raged, the Paris authorities admitted that getting fire fighters to the top of the building “was almost impossible.”
“It’s much too high up, and the only access is stone and spiral staircases – getting fire fighting crews up there is impossible,” said an emergency services source.
“This means that the fire has been able to spread across the roof, and it now threatening the two main Gothic towers.”
The source added: “We are not aware of any casualties, or of anyone being trapped, so there will be no emergency rescue plans being put into action.”
An emergency services source said that a water drop via plane or helicopter “was impossible” because the weight of the water dropped at low altitude would weaken the building and cause “extreme damage.”
“Everything is collapsing,” a cop near the scene said as the entire roof of the cathedral continued to burn.
Dramatic pictures show the church’s iconic spire collapsing[/caption]
The spire, built in the 19th century, has been destroyed by the inferno[/caption]
The fire has spread quickly and the entire wooden interior of the church was burning, an official said[/caption]
The blaze continues to strengthen as night falls on the French capital[/caption]
An aerial picture of the troubled cathedral which marks the centre of Paris[/caption]
Firefighters enter the ancient building in Paris which contains priceless art work[/caption]
Firefighters cleared the area around the cathedral, which marks the very centre of Paris, while nearby buildings around were evacuated.
“An evacuation is in progress,” said a police officer at the scene. “People are being advised to clear the area.”
Panicked locals have expressed their concern for the medieval cathedral on Twitter.
One witness wrote: “It’s getting worse. But the fire brigade has turned up. Hard to see how the tackle this. The plume of smoke is already 100s of feet long.”
The fire brigade can be seen in videos dousing the savage blaze with water.
French leader Emmanuel Macron, who postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the massive fire, has attended the scene.
Our Lady of Paris: A history of Notre Dame
- The legendary church is one the finest example of French Gothic architecture in Europe and one of the most visited buildings in the world.
- Notre Dame – which means ‘Our Lady’ – was build in 1160 and completed by 1260, and has been modified on a number of occasions throughout the century.
- It is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and is visited by some 12 million people every year.
- The original spire was build in 1250, and had five bells, but it was dismantled in the mid-19thCentury.
- It was replaced in 1850 by a spire by the architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc and that was the one which was destroyed today.
- It was made to 500 tonnes of wood and 250 tonnes of lead and was 305ft high.
On Twitter, he wrote: “Notre Dame of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thoughts go out to all Catholics and all of France. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
US President Donald Trump suggested that the fire could be put out with “flying water tankers”.
He tweeted: “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!”
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo described it as a “terrible fire” and urged people at the scene to stay safe.
The legendary church is one the finest example of French Gothic architecture in Europe and one of the most visited buildings in the world.
Notre Dame – which means ‘Our Lady’ – was build in 1160 and completed by 1260, and has been modified on a number of occasions throughout the century.
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It is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and is visited by some 12 million people every year.
Officials at Westminster Abbey in London has said it is “devastated for our friends” in Paris.
A post from its official Twitter account read: “Devastated for our friends at #NotreDame and for the people of France.
“You are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.”
US President Trump has offered advice to those fighting the flames[/caption]
French President Macron expressed his sadness at the devastating fire[/caption]
Macron attends the scene outside the cathedral which has been devastated by a raging fire this evening[/caption]
A ‘stray flame in the building’s roof caused the inferno, an emergency services source said[/caption]
The blaze destroys part of the cathedral’s roof[/caption]
Firefighters douse the blaze with water in a bid to save the iconic building[/caption]
The blaze erupted from the top of the ancient cathedral this evening[/caption]
The 850-year-old church is one of the most visited buildings in the world[/caption]
A major operation is currently underway to stop the blaze, authorities have said[/caption]
The blaze could be linked to renovation work which is currently taking place[/caption]
Stunned tourists have seen thick plumes of smoke filling the sky around the French capital[/caption]
Locals pray for a miracle as the fire decimates the legendary church[/caption]
Parisians watch as Notre Dame burns[/caption]
The cathedral is an iconic landmark and lies at the heart of the city[/caption]
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