PARIS, FRANCE – A fire broke out this evening (Paris time), Monday, April 15, 2019, engulfing possibly one of the most famous cathedrals, Notre Dame. Thankfully the church had closed to the public prior to the fire for the preparation for evening mass, so there are currently no fatalities or injuries reported. The spire and in many places the roof have collapsed. Currently the fire is ongoing and has reached the frame work and walls of the church, even as the fire seemingly slowly subduing to the work of the firefighters.
Officials are requesting that the well-meaning and shocked public steer clear of the scene so that first responders can get to the scene and get it under control. Church officials are on their way to the scene, and seemingly the fire fighters are gaining control over the blaze in the timber structure.
Social media is already full of theories, which include pointing to the recent vandalization and arson crimes that have been ongoing in France, particularly against the Roman Catholic Church. However officials are saying that the likely cause is due to the renovations happening at the church to restore and preserve it.
This church has had much history, taking over 200 years to build. It has been the Church of Joan of Arc, the restoration done by Nepolian Bonaparte and then the funds raised again by Victor Hugo with his classic book, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. The Church houses many relics, including those of the Crown of Thorns, one of St. Genevive, who’s “prayer marathon” against the attack of the Huns is credited for saving Paris in 451 and St. Denis, the first bishop and patron saint of Paris.
Pray for the safety of those who are responding to the fire, and the decisions of the clergy who will be in charge of assessing the damage and preservation of this iconic Cathedral. The priceless relics from the crown of thorns, saints, artwork, and the beautiful Biblical stories that were meant to bring the Bible to life for the public who were illiterate when the church was built, all of this could be lost.
President Trump did have a press conference offering his sorrow and condolences over this tragedy for the country of France, as we have been working to repair and restore relationships between countries.
Live coverage can be found by NBCnews by clicking here. Including an interview from Bishop Robert Baron.