Notre Dame on fire


The world looked on in horror as the iconic spire collapsed in the flames.

Marley Burwell, Features Editor

Paris, France is a city known for many things: romance, light, food, and some amazing monuments and buildings dating back centuries. The Notre Dame Cathedral is one such staple landmark. It has inspired many artists and authors, including Victor Hugo, the author of The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. The building sports a French Gothic architecture style and has been admired for years. This is why on April 15, 2019, people in Paris and all around the world were devastated when the cathedral started to burn.

At around 18:50 CEST, a fire in the attic of the cathedral broke out. The workers originally could not find the fire when the first fire alarm went off. Tourists and Parisians alike were confused as to why no one was being allowed in. However, the reason became quickly apparent as white smoke started to come out of the roof and the cathedral was soon ablaze. An enormous effort was made to put out the flames. Between 400 and 500 firefighters battled the fire as they tried to save this landmark. Within the first hour of the blaze, the roof, including the spire, was engulfed in flames. The spire eventually collapsed onto the cathedral ceiling vault. Since the roof and attic of Notre Dame was made out of 12th and 13th century wood, the fire was insanely difficult to stop and unfortunately could not be stopped in time to save everything. It took over nine hours to contain the fire and eventually put it out.

The construction of Notre Dame began in the 1160s. Much of this building is incredibly old. However, this is not the first destruction this cathedral has faced. During the French Revolution, a lot of destruction was brought at the hands of violent people. The spire itself was actually built around only 150 years ago. Even though the damage from this fire was extensive, many artifacts and pieces of art was saved. A crown of thorns believed to be worn by Jesus and the Tunic of St. Louis were reported to be saved. The bronze statues that sit upon the roof had been removed days prior to the fire as the cathedral was going under some renovations. The interior will be fine. Most of the famous rose windows are okay, even if a little stained and the well-known organ was not damaged.

Luckily, the main structure was made out of stone, so that and one-third of the roof remains standing, including the two bell towers. It was a miracle more wasn’t destroyed considering the timber interior. The glass windows face some damage, along with the vaulted ceiling. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild the cathedral. His plans are to have it done within five years. Some architects say it would be more likely closer to 15 years, but considering the amount of donations that has poured in, money wouldn’t be an issue.

When news first broke, many couldn’t believe it. To have such an old, important landmark like that on the brink of being gone is surreal. The world doesn’t seem like the world without the Notre Dame. Of course, it is logical something like this could potentially happen when taking into account the considerable age and location of the cathedral., but it never seems likely. On the not-so-dark side of this story, this event really showcases human resilience and passion, along with seeing history happen. This will be in textbooks. Future generations will learn about it in school and it will not be forgotten. Even though the fire was deemed as an accident, the event still shook the world. Over one billion euros has been donated towards rebuilding what was lost. The fact that so many people band together and have a common goal and a common passion is inspiring. This event shows how humans fight fiercely what they love and hold dear. No one wanted to see the Notre Dame burn, but it did, and now everyone has to keep moving forward and show that even though a little damaged, Notre Dame still stands. Paris didn’t let the cathedral disappear from this world. As disappointing as it is to many people who never got to see it before the fire, there is a certain comfort in knowing that the Notre Dame  is being cared for centuries to come.