Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral is on fire, causing its iconic spire to collapse

A massive fire has broken out at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, causing its iconic spire to collapse.

As of this writing, we don’t know if anyone has been injured or what started the fire. It goes without saying that I truly hope no one was harmed and that those inside were able to make it out safely.

CNN reported that the cathedral was currently under construction or renovation as of last week:

The cathedral has been surrounded by scaffolding and was under construction, as the below photo from last Thursday shows.

Notre Dame Cathedral fire
A statue of Saint John is removed from the spire of Notre Dame cathedral by a crane before restoration work, in Paris, France, April 11, 2019.

This opens the possibility that an accident during construction may have resulted in the cathedral catching fire, but we likely won’t know what caused it for at least a couple of days. Regardless of anything, I truly hope that it wasn’t deliberately set.

CNN also reported that large parts of the roof have been destroyed, and at least seven fire trucks have been dispatched to fight the flames.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1163. Since then, numerous additions and renovations took place, perhaps most notably the spire that was originally constructed some time in the early 13th Century. After centuries of damage from wind, the spire was removed in 1786. In the 19th Century, the spire was rebuilt, using 750 tons of oak covered in lead (read more about ‘The Great Fire of 1879‘).

The footage being posted of the fire – and the spire collapsing – is breathtaking. Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, this is a loss of an enormous piece of history.

A fire has broken out at the iconic Paris landmark Notre-Dame cathedral. The fire has spread rapidly across the building. The cause was not immediately clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work. 

Another angle:

Church or not, this is a devastating cultural loss for Paris, and the world.

Again – it goes without saying that I hope everyone that was inside made it out safely. It’s a terribel tragedy however you look at it, but the cathedral can be rebuilt, and lost possessions can be replaced. What can’t be replaced are human lives.

Even without invoking God in this, from a historical and architectural perspective, it’s a horrible loss.

But what sort of God would destroy a centuries-old historical monument built in his honor?

The best answer I can come up with is: not one who is worthy of your admiration.

Cover image via Getty Images

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.




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