A massive fire broke out on Monday afternoon at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, destroying the roof of the 850-year old church.
The fire in the iconic structure, a survivor of wars and revolutions, was fueled by a ‘forest’ of wooden latticework that brought down the famous spire and soon consumed the centuries-old wooden roof beams, stone exterior and soaring Gothic architecture of the Cathedral. The framework of the intricately carved roof dated back to the 13th century.
Two-thirds of the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark's roofing has been ravaged in the tragic incident. However, the structure of the building including the two bell towers and the main edifice was saved.
At the time that the cathedral’s roof was in flames, France's President Emmanuel Macron took to Twitter, expressing his sadness for Paris’ beloved monument.
Speaking from the scene, Macron described the fire as a "terrible tragedy," but added the "worst had been avoided." He cautioned the people of Paris saying that “the battle is not yet totally won.”
The President then moved on to praise the courage and professionalism of the firefighters, promising Parisians that they will "rebuild this cathedral together." He also announced an international fundraising campaign to raise money for the repairs.
(This Notre-Dame cathedral, we will rebuild it. All together. It's part of our French destiny. I commit myself: tomorrow a national subscription will be launched, and well beyond our borders.)
As Paris mourned, expressions of support and commiseration have poured in from leaders around the world.
Here’s what they had to say:
He also tweeted in French that reads- (Standing. And always beautiful. Notre Dame de Paris this morning. Tribute to the firefighters who worked all night, and who are still working)
(Support and solidarity with the @PompiersParis mobilized to save our common heritage, in the heart of Paris. An exceptional device was deployed by the @prefpolice to neutralize this violent fire. I share the immense emotion of the Parisians. The French. #Our Lady)
Built in the 13th century, the medieval structure is considered a feat of architecture as much as a religious symbol. It is one of Paris' most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.