Fire at Notre-Dame leaves France in shock, Macron vows to restore the Paris landmark

Paris: The fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is reportedly under control now, but there are residual fires to put out and the fire fighting operations continue at the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark. The fire at one point threatened the entire edifice, and left France in shock over the damage to a building described as the soul of the nation.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed relief the worst had been avoided. He vowed to rebuild the building. Fire destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark. Around 400 firefighters battled into the night to control the flames

The inferno consumed the iconic church’s spire, reports quoted officials from Paris as saying that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved as well as the two towers.

French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The blaze had at one point threatened the entire edifice.

Horrible, tweets Trump

US President Donald Trump on Monday called the blaze engulfing Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris “horrible” and suggested the deployment of flying water tankers. “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump tweeted.

But France’s civil security service, which oversees crisis management in the country, tweeted back at Trump that the use of water-bombing aircraft was not being considered.

“If used, (this) could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral,” it said.

UNESCO tweets it stands at France’s side

The UNESCO said Monday that it “stood at France’s side to save and restore” Notre-Dame cathedral, “a priceless heritage” which erupted in flames earlier in the afternoon. Audrey Azoulay, secretary general of UNESCO, said the agency was monitoring the effort to put out the blaze, which consumed the iconic church’s spire as flames spread across the roof. Notre-Dame was added to UNESCO’s world heritage list in 1991, Azoulay added in a tweet.

The cathedral was located at the centre of the French capital in the Middle Ages and its construction was completed in the mid-12th century after some 200 years of work.

During the French Revolution in the 18th century, the cathedral was vandalised in widespread anti-Catholic violence: its spire was dismantled, its treasures plundered and its large statues at the grand entrance doors destroyed.

Building survived the devastation of two world wars

The building survived the devastation of two global conflicts in the 20th century and famously rang its bells on August 24, 1944, the day of the Liberation of Paris from German occupation at the end of the World War II.

“Paris is disfigured. The city will never be like it was before,” said Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s.