After devastating blaze, photos emerge revealing a 'desolate scene' inside fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral

By Amanda Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
April 17, 2019, 1:44:59 PM EDT


A fire caused devastating damage to the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday afternoon, a catastrophe that sent shockwaves around the world.

Officials report the fire that ravaged the 13th century cathedral was under control by Monday night.

The fire burned for several hours, causing the iconic spire and the roof to collapse within the nearly 900-year-old structure.

There is no official report on how the fire began at the cathedral, but French media reported fire officials said the enormous blaze is "potentially linked" to a sweeping and costly restoration project that had been underway, according to The Associated Press. Officials have launched an investigation into the cause, but consider it to be an accident.

No one was killed in the fire, although one firefighter was reportedly injured.

By Monday evening, Reuters reported, Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet said firefighters had saved the cathedral's main structure. “We now believe that the two towers of Notre Dame have been saved,” Gallet told reporters. “We now consider that the main structure of Notre Dame has been saved and preserved,” but he added that there's a chance portions of the cathedral's interior are still at risk of collapse.

The fire alarm began to go off at Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. local time. The church and surrounding areas were evacuated for firefighters and city officials to begin fighting the blaze, which quickly consumed the back of the cathedral.

(AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Experts inspect the blackened shell of Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

(Photo/Christophe Petit Tesson, Pool via AP)

Debris are seen inside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

(Twitter photo/Anne Hidalgo)

The charred scene inside Notre Dame Cathedral on April 16, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

A firefighter tackles the blaze as flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Flames rise from Notre Dame as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Massive plumes of yellow brown smoke is filling the air above Notre Dame.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Firefighters tackle the blaze as flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Flames rise from Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus

A firefighter tackles the blaze as flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame Cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Lori Hinant)

Notre Dame Cathedral burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Massive flames rise from Notre Dame as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Flames and plumes of smoke rise from Notre Dame as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Firefighters tackle the blaze as flames and smoke rise from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019.

(Twitter/Anne Hidalgo)

Paris Major Anne Hidalgo shows the flames coming from the fire in the back of the cathedral.

(Twitter/Anne Hidalgo)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo shows people watching the smoke coming from the Notre Dame Cathedral.

(Twitter/Anne Hidalgo)

Firefighters work to contain the growing fire in Notre Dame Cathedral.


With winds blowing from the east, the large volumes of smoke looming above Notre Dame were being pushed to the west Monday evening and Monday night. Smoke was no longer visible on Tuesday.

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Notre Dame cathedral ablaze

Light rain and drizzle were reported across the city on Tuesday as spectators returned to see the damage.

Several days of warm and dry weather are expected from Wednesday into the weekend which will be beneficial for preventing any further damage to the structure.

Weather gradually impacted the cathedral over the years, with acid rain slowly eroding the flying buttresses and their decorative pinnacles, the New York Times reported.

People reacting to the Notre Dame fire on social media shared breathtaking photos and videos showing bright orange flames shooting out of the famed cathedral. Many on social media also expressed a sense of shock and disbelief as they watched one of the world's most iconic landmarks going up in flames.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was among those who expressed despair, tweeting, “a terrible fire underway at the Notre-Dame Cathedral” asking everyone to respect the boundaries put up by officials," and in a later tweet saying, "I do not have a strong enough word to express the pain I feel with #OurLady ravaged by the flames. Tonight, all Parisians and French mourn this emblem of our common history. From our motto, we will get the strength to rise up."

Hidalgo said Tuesday that many works of art that were saved from the cathedral were being taken over by state services. French culture minister Franck Riester told reporters that many pieces of art were being transported to the Louvre Museum.

Hidalgo and several other officials went inside the cathedral to view the damage on Tuesday. Hidalgo called it a "desolate scene" and added "restoration will be a huge challenge."

French President Emmanuel Macron also spoke out on social media to say that along with the entire country, he was "sad to see this part of us burn tonight."


Macron later pledged to rebuild the historic structure, and over 700 million euros have been pledged from public and private donors to help rebuild the site. By Wedneday, donations had reportedly neared $1 billion.

AccuWeather staff writer Kevin Byrne contributed to this article.

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