April 2019

Massive Fire Devastates Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral in flamesNotre-Dame Cathedral in flames

Notre-Dame Cathedral in flames
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire on April 15, 2019.

An enormous fire destroyed much of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, France. It started on the evening of April 15 and quickly spread to the cathedral’s roof and famous spire. More than 400 firefighters battled the blaze throughout the night. The church was undergoing renovations and was largely surrounded by scaffolding. Still, the height of the building’s arched ceiling and its huge wooden roof beams made fighting the fire difficult. It took firefighters more than nine hours to get the blaze under control.

Fortunately, no one died in the fire, but one firefighter was seriously injured. The fire caused great damage to the cathedral’s nave, or central part. It burned up the roof’s huge support beams, known as “the forest,” that were each carved from an entire tree. However, the basic stone structure of the church, including its two bell towers, appears to be intact. The cathedral’s stained-glass windows also survived the blaze. Other priceless treasures and relics kept in the church were rescued by firefighters. The Paris Fire Brigade is investigating the cause of the fire. At this time, French authorities consider it to be an accident.

The construction of Notre-Dame Cathedral began in A.D. 1163 during the Middle Ages. It was built on a natural island in the middle of the Seine River and took nearly 200 years to complete. Today, it is known as one of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture. Viewed as a symbol of the French nation, Notre-Dame attracts more than 13 million visitors each year. The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, vowed to rebuild the cathedral within five years, as donations of money poured in from around the world.

Image credit: ©Thibault Camus/AP Images
Question 1
In which city is Notre-Dame Cathedral located?

Question 2
When did construction begin on Notre-Dame Cathedral?

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