AP News Alert: Artists Mourn Loss In Notre Dame Fire

PARIS (AP) – The Latest on a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):

2:00 a.m.

People in the art world watched with shock and wept as a fierce fire ripped through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

One medieval art expert called the Gothic church built over centuries “one of the great monuments to the best of civilization.”

Barbara Drake Boehm, senior curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval Cloisters branch in New York, said the flames were a reminder: “Civilization is just so fragile.”

Her voice shook as she tried to put what Notre Dame means into words.

Others expressed fear for works of art inside the cathedral, including the famous stained-glass rose windows.

The fire chief in Paris said late Monday that hundreds of firefighters tackling the blaze saved Notre Dame by stopping the blaze before it could spread to the north belfry.

10:20 p.m.

An official from the French Interior Ministry says 400 firefighters are at the scene of the fire but might they not be able to save Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Laurent Nunez, speaking to reporters at the scene, says the devastating fire is not limited yet to a certain area and might continue to expand. He says cause of fire at the cathedral is unknown.

10:05 p.m. (3:22 central time)

A group of Americans from Maine had just finished visiting Notre Dame Cathedral and were in a nearby park when they heard it was on fire.

Freeport resident Lucy Soule, 22, said it was “weird” having been in the church right before this happened. “Now you can smell it burning.”

Soule and her father, Win Soule, 58, and Libby Heselton, 53, are on a weeklong trip to Paris where they planned to “see all the sights” and had just finished their visit to Notre Dame. They had been in the cathedral at 5:30 p.m., about an hour before the fire.

Win told The Associated Press “Now I feel sorry for the people tomorrow. They won’t be able to see it.”

He says “it’s incredible. I’m not religious, but this is clearly very important to a lot of people.”

9:40 p.m.

The Vatican has issued a statement about the “terrible fire” that has “devastated” Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The Vatican said: “The Holy See has seen with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.”

The statement says the Vatican is praying for firefighters “and those who are doing everything possible to confront this dramatic situation” on Monday.

It also expressed “our closeness to French Catholics and the population of Paris, and we assure our prayers for firefighters

PARIS (AP) – The massive fire in Paris has spread to one of Notre Dame’s iconic rectangular towers.

French Interior Ministry official says firefighters might not be able to save Notre Dame Cathedral.

9:05 p.m. (local time Paris)

French President Emmanuel Macron is treating the fire gutting Notre Dame Cathedral as a national emergency.

Macron reached the landmark cathedral on Monday evening and went straight into meetings at the nearby Paris police headquarters.

France’s civil security agency says “all means” except for water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze.

The defense agency said those were unsuitable for fires like the one at Notre Dame because dumping water on the building could cause the whole structure to collapse.

PARIS (AP) – The Latest on a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):

8:35 p.m.

French writer and historian Camille Pascal says a massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral has caused “the destruction of invaluable heritage” and “we can be only horrified by what we see.”

Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV: “It’s been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris” and its bells pealed for both “happy and unfortunate events.”

He recalled that Notre Dame’s bells sounded a death knell after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

Authorities are investigating if renovation work on the cathedral’s fire was a factor in starting or spreading the fire.

On Thursday, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning and therefore escaped the blaze.

 

 

8:30 p.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron says the fire consuming Notre Dame Cathedral is taking part of everyone in France with it.

Macron tweeted after the blaze broke out in the cathedral’s spire on Monday he was sad to see “a part of us being on fire.”

He extended “thoughts for all the Catholics and all the French.”

His administration says Macron is heading to Notre Dame.

 

8:20 p.m. (local times Paris)

The deputy mayor of Paris says Notre Dame Cathedral has suffered “colossal damages” from a fire that started in the spire and caused it to collapse.

Speaking to BFMTV, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said first responders now trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.

A cathedral spokesman has said the entire wooden interior of the Notre Dame is burning and likely to be destroyed.

 

PARIS (AP) – A church spokesman has told French media that all of Notre Dame Cathedral’s frame is burning after spire collapsed.

Part of the spire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has collapsed amid a raging fire.

PARIS (AP) – The Latest on a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (all times local):

7:55 p.m.

Police in Paris say the cause of the massive fire enveloping the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t yet known.

The French capital’s police department said no deaths have been reported from Monday’s fire. The police department didn’t say anything about injuries.

The peak of the 12th century cathedral is undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project.

French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saying the fire is “potentially linked” to the renovation work.

Located on the Ile de la Cite in the center of Paris, the Gothic cathedral is among the most famous from the Middle Ages and was built on the ruins of two earlier churches.

 

7:45 p.m. (local times Paris)

French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a televised speech to the nation because of a massive fire enveloping the top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Flames are shooting out of the roof behind the nave of the 12th cathedral, one of the world’s most visited landmarks.

The sight stopped pedestrians in their tracks along the Seine River, which passes under the cathedral.

Authorities said the fire could be linked to renovation work. It’s unclear if anyone has been hurt in the fire.

Macron’s pre-recorded speech was set to be aired later Monday on French TV. Macron was expected to lay out his plan to address the citizen complaints that gave rise to the yellow vest protests that have rocked France since November.

 

Social media reaction:

“Heartbreaking to see #NotreDame Cathedral completely engulfed in flames. Ground was originally broken in 1163, and took nearly 200 years to complete. Just awful,” another person added.

Built between the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, the landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, receiving more than 12 million visitors each year.

Watching Notre-Dame burn. I went there as a child and have just come off the phone to my nan. Can’t believe this has happened. 850 years of history and it happens this year! Thoughts are with France right now

 

 

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