Towers of smoke and huge flames were billowing from the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, where a fire—possibly related to a renovation project—erupted today (April 15). The renovations were necessary in part because Paris’ air pollution had eaten away at the limestone.
The iconic cathedral—a symbol of France, and its most popular tourist destination—completed its initial construction in 1260. The last damage of any significant scale took place during the French Revolution in the late 18th century, when much of its religious iconography was destroyed.
A large portion of the roof and the central spire have collapsed. A Notre Dame spokesman told the New York Times in a telephone interview that no injuries have been reported.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) April 15, 2019
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019
— The Voice of America (@VOANews) April 15, 2019
TV channel France 2 reported that the blaze was started accidentally during renovation work.
Incendie à Notre dame pic.twitter.com/4fuZ0LpCuj
— Xavier GUILLERM (@XGuillerm) April 15, 2019
Le Monde reports that firefighters have run into issues battling the fire.
According to @lemondefr, Parisian firefighters can’t reach the flames as they are too high for their hoses to reach.
Also, no word as to whether anyone was inside at the time.https://t.co/O9cqV0iAsT
— Cyrus Farivar (@cfarivar) April 15, 2019
According to Wikipedia, Notre Dame features a water reservoir between its two towers, intended to “quickly extinguish a fire.”
The area around the cathedral has been cleared by police.
This story is still developing, and will be updated as new details become available.