France’s Notre Dame Cathedral Goes up in Flames

Claire, Staff

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One of France’s national icons, a historic monument that had been standing since its completion in the 1300s, burned to the ground on Monday as a result of what prosecutors say was an accident. The fire started Monday evening, April 15, six days before Easter, at 6:50 pm, after the church was closed to the public. The blaze was active for over 12 hours as 400 firemen and police officers attempted to stop it, and caused the 850-year old church’s roof and iconic spire to collapse into the building. Most of the wooden portion of the building and its inside was eviscerated, but the cathedral’s two bell towers survived the fire, even though the flames reached one of them before the firefighters were able to put it out.

Following the devastating fire, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the country, stating that the Notre Dame would be rebuilt as soon as possible, to restore the historic building to its former glory, and that he wanted it done within five years. Almost one billion dollars have been pledged towards the rebuilding and renovating of the cathedral, $100,000 of which is coming from the Notre Dame University in Indiana.

Some of the priceless artifacts located inside Notre Dame were lost to the flames, however, but a hero from the terrorist attack in 2015 rushed into the burning building and succeeded in escaping with some of the artifacts, including the revered Crown of Thorns. Many of the ornate rose windows, stained-glass marvels, remained intact as well.

The Notre Dame cathedral was where Henry VI of England was crowned king in 1431, and where Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned emperor of France in 1804. It receives over 13 million visitors per year, and some Parisians have worshipped in the church for their entire lives. As the damage to the structure is assessed, and the public is assured of its restoration as a historic landmark, the world mourns alongside France for the Notre Dame cathedral.