Notre Dame Cathedral fire ‘under control’: Paris firefighters
SANA’A – After hours of battling a “significant fire” that broke out at the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris at 7 pm local time, firefighters were able to bring it under control in the early hours of Tuesday.
“The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinct, only residual fires were still burning,” said the Paris spokesman Gabriel Plus.
Smoke could be seen billowing out from the top of the medieval cathedral, as flames leapt out beside its two bell towers.
NBC journalist Nancy Ing reported that gargoyles were falling off the roof.
Both the spire and roof of the cathedral collapsed, but the main structure was preserved, Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters at the scene.
“We now believe that the two towers of Notre-Dame have been saved,” he added.
Gallet said that the operation was focused on preserving the rear of the cathedral where the most valuable works are located.
There was still a risk that some of the interior structures could collapse, and firefighters would work overnight to cool them down, he said.
One firefighter was seriously injured in the blaze — the only reported casualty.
The cause of the fire was not immediately known. The Paris Prosecutor has opened an official investigation to determine the cause of the fire.
An investigation was opened for accidental destruction by fire, said Paris prosecutors.
A group of 16 copper statues escaped the blaze as they were removed from the cathedral’s roof on April 11 for restoration work, as part of a €6 million renovation project.