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US NewsParis' historic Notre-Dame Cathedral hit by fire

21:35  15 april  2019
21:35  15 april  2019 Source:   reuters.com

Notre-Dame 'will be closed for 5-6 years', bishop says

Notre-Dame 'will be closed for 5-6 years', bishop says Notre-Dame Cathedral "will be closed for five to six years" as it recovers from a disastrous fire, its rector has said. © Getty The inside of Notre-Dame after the fire Bishop Patrick Chauvet made the admission as he spoke to local business owners two days after a blaze that destroyed its roof and spire and left it mere minutes from total collapse. France's Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has launched a competition for international architects to rebuild the spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

Paris' historic Notre-Dame Cathedral hit by fire © FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images Smokes ascends as flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019 afternoon, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.

PARIS, April 15 (Reuters) - A major fire broke out at the medieval Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday afternoon, leading firefighters to clear the area around one of the city's most visited landmarks.

Smoke could be seen billowing out from the top of the gothic cathedral, as flames lept out besides its two bell towers, a Reuters witness said.

Pictures of Notre-Dame Before the Fire: A Cathedral That Defined a City

Pictures of Notre-Dame Before the Fire: A Cathedral That Defined a City When the architects of Cathedral of Notre-Dame set to work some 850 years ago, their goals were nothing if not ambitious. © Jean-Sebastien Evrard/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Notre-Dame is one of Paris’s most famous landmarks, drawing about 13 million visitors a year. The church’s sanctuary, they decreed, must be taller than any built before. The nave would rise 108 feet, and the two 223-feet-tall towers would cast a far-reaching shadow over the roofs of Paris. © Getty Notre-Dame around 1900.

It was not immediately clear what had caused the fire. France 2 television reported that police were treating the incident as an accident.

The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo's classic novel the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, attracts millions of tourists every year.

"A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris," Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter.

A major operation was under way, the fire department said, while a city hall spokesman said on Twitter that the area was being cleared.

Notre-Dame was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for works.

Paris' historic Notre-Dame Cathedral hit by fire © PIERRE GALEY/AFP/Getty Images Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. - A fire broke out at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said.Images posted on social media showed flames and huge clouds of smoke billowing above the roof of the gothic cathedral, the most visited historic monument in Europe. (Photo by Pierre Galey / AFP) (Photo credit should read PIERRE GALEY/AFP/Getty Images)

(Reporting by Sybille de la Hamaide, Simon Carraud and Sudip Kar-Gupta, Editing by Sarah White and Michel Rose)

Revealed: 'Fearless' priest saved priceless relics from burning Notre-Dame.
A French priest who helped comfort the wounded after the worst terrorist attack on Paris this century has emerged as the hero of the Notre-Dame fire. Jean-Marc Fournier, chaplain of the Paris Fire Brigade, saved the Blessed Sacrament and the Crown of Thorns from the burning cathedral on Monday night when he bravely went in with firefighters. It had been feared that both religious artefacts would be lost to the raging fire which engulfed the iconic building.

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