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Fire official says Notre Dame’s towers saved

by Rachel Lynn AldrichLynde Langdon  & Mickey McLean
Posted 4/15/19, 06:28 pm

UPDATE: Paris Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said Monday night that firefighters had stopped the fire from spreading to Notre Dame Cathedral’s north tower belfry and had saved both of the structure’s iconic towers. He said one firefighter was injured and crews would continue working overnight to cool down the structure. The Paris prosecutors’ office does not believe arson or terrorism caused the blaze and is treating it as an accident. French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the Paris landmark, announcing a fundraising campaign would launch on Tuesday, as he called on the world’s “greatest talents” to help.

UPDATE (4:36 p.m.): A French Interior Ministry official said firefighters might not be able to save Notre Dame Cathedral. Monday’s massive fire could also spread to the 12th-century cathedral’s second bell tower and belfry, according to Paris Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet. It’s unclear what led to the blaze that engulfed part of the building earlier Monday. French President Emmanuel Macron is treating the fire as a national emergency, and U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted his concern Monday afternoon: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris!”

OUR EARLIER REPORT (2:57 p.m.): Flames swept through the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday as firefighters battled the blaze and ashes dropped onto tourists in the surrounding streets. It was not immediately clear whether anyone was injured, but police said no deaths had been reported. The cause of the fire is not yet known, but the Paris Fire Brigade said it is “potentially linked” to a $6.8 million renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead, according to French news outlets.

The 300-foot spire and roof of the 12th-century cathedral collapsed. A church spokesman said the entire wooden interior is burning and likely destroyed. “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman André Finot said.

First responders are trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral, Paris Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told BFM-TV. French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation and was headed to the scene of the disaster.

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Rachel Lynn Aldrich

Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. Follow Rachel on Twitter @Rachel_Lynn_A.

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Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital’s managing editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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Mickey McLean

Mickey is executive editor of WORLD Digital.

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