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Notre Dame fire under control, main structure saved

IANS  |  Paris 

A devastating fire that engulfed the Notre Dame, the 850-year-old Unesco world heritage landmark in Paris, was brought under control on Tuesday, while the Cathedral's main structure as well as its two towers has been saved, the city's fire brigade has confirmed.

"The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out," quoted a as saying on Tuesday morning.

Some 500 firefighters worked to prevent one of the bell towers from collapsing, according to Jean-Claude Gallet, adding that several invaluable artefacts had also been rescued from the burning cathedral.

The fire began at around 6.30 p.m., on Monday and quickly caused the collapse of the Cathedral's spectacular and the destruction of its roof structure, which dated back to the 13th century.

Consumed by flames, the spire leaned to one side and fell onto the burning roof as horrified onlookers watched.

Parisians raised their voices in song on Monday night outside the burning Cathedral which is one of the city's most revered historic sites.

French praised firefighters for saving the Cathedral's iconic facade and towers, saying "the worst has been avoided", reported.

Yet he lamented the damage already done to "the Cathedral of all French people". He asked the country to commit to rebuilding Notre Dame together, announcing an international fundraising campaign to raise money for the repairs.

"Notre Dame is our history, it's our literature, it's our imagery. It's the place where we live our greatest moments, from wars to pandemics to liberations... This history is ours. And it burns. It burns and I know the sadness so many of our fellow French feel."

A site taking has been launched.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear. Officials have said that it could be linked to the renovation work that began after cracks appeared in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable, the reported.

prosecutor's office said it had opened an inquiry into "accidental destruction by fire".

Several churches around rang their bells in response to the blaze, which happened as Catholics celebrate

The Vatican said the Holy See learned with "shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in and in the world".

German has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a "symbol of French and European culture".

UK said in a tweet: "My thoughts are with the people of tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral".

US said it was "horrible to watch" the fire and suggested that "flying water tankers" could be used to extinguish the blaze.

UN said: "Horrified by the pictures coming from with the fire engulfing - a unique example of world heritage that has stood tall since the 14th century..."

The Notre Dame's foundation stone was laid in 1163 by Pope Alexander III, and the Cathedral was completed in the 13th century.

Today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, Notre Dame is considered a feat of architecture as well as a major religious and cultural symbol of It is one of Paris' most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.

It was the site of Napoleon Bonaparte's coronation as in 1804. The central spire was built in the 19th century amid a broad restoration effort, partly buoyed by the success of Victor Hugo's novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" in 1831.

The Cathedral also houses the grand organ, one of the world's most famous musical instruments, as well as the Crown of Thorns, a relic of the passion of Christ.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 08:44 IST
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