Fire Engulfs Parts of Notre-Dame Cathedral

The fire at the historic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

A devastating fire tore through Notre-Dame Cathedral’s roof in Paris, France. Crowds of people gasped as flames sent the cathedral’s spire [a tall, pointed structure often set on top of a building] crashing to earth. Around 500 firefighters worked for hours to contain the fire.

By late evening, Paris firefighters said the stone structure of the building had been saved. Investigators believe the fire started by accident. At the time, the 850-year-old cathedral was undergoing repairs. It appears that the fire started in the attic, near where workers had been making repairs.

Notre-Dame is one of the most well-known structures built during the Middle Ages [the historical period in Europe lasting from about the 5th century until the 15th century].

It is an important cultural and historical site. Last year, a fire at the Brazil’s National Museum destroyed many precious artifacts. As the fire raged in Paris, many feared the same fate for Notre-Dame’s many priceless works of art.

People organized quickly to rescue many important items from the blaze. Thankfully, 16 copper statues were removed while the building was being repaired. Notre-Dame’s stained-glass rose windows have also survived. However, the conditions of many other pieces of art are not yet known.

French President Emanuel Macron has pledged to rebuild the cathedral. Already people and groups all over the world have donated money. This fundraising effort has inspired people in the United States to provide help to churches closer to home as well. Campaigns to rebuild three predominately African American churches in Louisiana that burned in fires received increased donations the day after the fire at Notre Dame.

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Photo Credit: FABIEN BARRAU/AFP/Getty Images