By Sairra Misra
On 15 April 2019, the Notre Dame de Paris, a medieval Catholic cathedral, went up in flames. About 30,000 people were around France’s most popular tourist attraction at the time and watched as the 19th century-spire collapsed.
The Notre Dame took over 200 years to build and has been around for over 800 years. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic landmarks in Europe. Its burning rendered people speechless, and many gathered around to pray for the catastrophic damage. Many burst into tears. Even the French President, Emmanuel Macron, found it difficult to hold his tears back as he addressed the media outside the cathedral.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but it took over 9 hours to extinguish and the hard work of over 400 firefighters. There were no deaths as the church was closed for renovation but one firefighter was reported as injured. The police do not suspect a deliberate fire; although, the cause of the fire is not where the public focus lies.
Andre Finot, the church spokesperson, said: “the entire wooden interior, which dates from the 13th century, had burned and likely to be destroyed.” Luckily, emergency services managed to save almost all art pieces as well as “The Crown of Thrones”.
This week is the Holy Easter week, which is why this news is so devastating after all the Notre Dame is said to be the most important Catholic location for all of France. Many churches in the city rung there bells in unison to support the Notre Dame today.
Emmanuel Macron, the French president, reached out and stated that they will rebuild the cathedral in just five years and make it even better. He also said he will seek international help to do so. He added: “We will rebuild Notre Dame because this is what the French expect because this is what our history deserves because it is our destiny.”
The Cathedral was just 15-30 minutes away from being completely ruined and Macron has pledges that it will be rebuilt in 5 years.