Iconic French Cathedral Burns To The Ground


Credit: Wikipedia

An icon of Paris, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, is no more.

A fire broke out beneath the roof of the Cathedral just before 6:50 p.m. on April 15. The fire lasted 15 hours, destroying most of the building.

Even though the exact cause of the fire has not been found, fire investigators have speculated that a short circuit, located near the spire, caused the flames. Because the fire started at the spire, the ceiling collapsed onto the stone interior of the Cathedral, causing damage and more fire.

After the fire was extinguished, the building’s spire and most of the roof had been destroyed and the upper walls were severely damaged. Damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which contained the burning roof as it collapsed.

Many works of art and other treasures, like paintings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the original Great Organ, were saved in the emergency, but many others were damaged or destroyed. According to The Insider, the Cathedral’s two pipe organs, and its three 13th-century rose windows, suffered little or no damage, and three people were injured.

Caroline DiFiore ’19 couldn’t believe the landmark had been destroyed.

“I visited Paris last summer,” said Caroline. “When I heard the Cathedral burned down, I didn’t think it was real. It was such an amazing building with so much history behind it.”

The Cathedral was constructed from 1163 to 1345, and was still in use by the Roman Catholic Church for Sunday mass before it collapsed. Inside, it contained drawings and engravings of how the city of Paris came to be, and a historic bell.

Vicente Abbud ’19 is frightened by the fact the Cathedral is no longer standing.

“I went to Paris last April,” said Vicente. “When I learned the Cathedral burned down, I was upset because I pictured myself there. Exactly a year ago I was there. I looked at a picture I took of the Cathedral and couldn’t believe I was at a place that is no longer there. That’s scary.”

Ms. Michalski, a French Language Teacher at Williston, is very familiar with Paris and was personally effected by the fire.

“I have been to Paris and Notre Dame dozens of times and at different phases of my life. Most vividly, I remember living in Paris with my family the summer I was 7 months pregnant with my youngest daughter, while my oldest daughter was about 2,” said Ms. Michalski.

“I was devastated and shocked at the fire, and as surprised at how hard the sight hit me, especially seeing the iconic spire fall,” she added. “Notre Dame was more than an architectural marvel – it represented so many memories and moments to me, I realized when I saw it burning.”