- Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of Europe’s most celebrated religious buildings, was devastated by a fire Monday night.
- The fire began at around 6.30 p.m. local time, and burned until the next morning.
- While the cathedral’s main structure survived, the roof and spire were destroyed in the blaze.
- The timeline below shows how the fire developed.
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Thousands stood in disbelief on Monday night as the Notre-Dame Cathedral, one of Paris’ most iconic historical monuments, became engulfed in flames.
The cathedral, built several hundred years ago, was renowned for its impressive Gothic architecture and housed scores of priceless artifacts, including the Crown of Thorns, which some believe was once worn by Jesus himself, and the Great Organ, one of the world’s most famous instruments. Nearly 13 million visitors visit the landmark each year.
The fire was finally extinguished on Tuesday morning, though the extent of the damage is not yet known. Several relics were able to be saved, and France’s wealthiest have already pledged hundreds of millions of dollars towards the restoration of the site.
Here’s a timeline of how the fire unfolded:
The cathedral had been undergoing renovations for decades before the fire broke out.
The cathedral had been undergoing restorations for the last few decades, partly due to increased air pollution in Paris which eroded parts of the buildings facade.
The most recent renovations were proposed in 2017, when the authorities pledged €6 million ($6.8 million) to repair the massive nearly 300 foot tall spire. That renovation was part of a larger €150 million ($169 million) restoration project and included the removal of several of the building’s historic statues in the days leading up to the fire.
Though the cause of the blaze remains unknown, officials are treating the incident as an accident and say it could be linked to recent renovations.
The fire began at around 6:30 p.m. local time on Monday.
The fire quickly spread across the roof, sending huge clouds of smoke billowing into the sky. The cathedral’s delicate spire collapsed around an hour after the fire started.
Hundreds of firefighters had been mobilized in order to put out the fire. Thousands of onlookers congregated along the banks of the Seine, standing in disbelief as the fire spread throughout the building.
“It is like losing a member of one’s own family,” a witness told the New York Times.
The building continued to burn for several hours as firefighters rushed to subdue the flames.
The building featured several design errors that allowed the fire to get so out of hand.
Fire began to spread quickly across areas covered by scaffolding introduced in the renovations process. The roof of the cathedral was also supported by a framework of wooden beams which have stood there since the the 13th century.
The building was made of limestone, which easily crumbled, and fixtures had been replaced over the years with plastic pipes and wooden planks.
Additionally, the flames were so high on the building that firefighters had a hard time extinguishing them by boat or truck.
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