Apr 15 2019

Notre Dame cathedral ablaze in Paris

A major fire broke out in the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday night, raising fears the 850-year-old landmark could be reduced to rubble.

The fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the structure. Hours later footage showed the steeple collapsing.

"There will be nothing left," a spokesperson for the cathedral said. "It remains to be seen whether the vault, which protects the cathedral, will be affected or not."

"Like all of my countrymen, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday night.

Officials have said the cause of the fire may have been linked to renovation work on cracks in the structure of the building. The Paris prosecutor’s office announced it has launched an investigation into the fire.

The cathedral, which began construction in 1163 and took almost two centuries to complete, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Paris, visited by millions of people each year.

Images of the blaze drew horror from onlookers in Paris, who were reportedly “howling and gasping” as the spire came down.

People around the world were equally horrified as they watched images of an iconic building, and a part of history, consumed by flames.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted conciliatory messages in French and Turkish expressing Turkey's "great sadness" at the destruction of a "World Heritage architectural masterpiece".

For Turkish Islamist daily Yeni Akit, however, the devastating loss of one of its most beloved landmarks was no reason to forget the tensions with France sparked last week over a decree signed by Macron recognising April 24 as a day of commemoration for the Armenian genocide.

“Notre Dame Cathedral is aflame in the capital of France, which recognises the so-called ‘Armenian Genocide’,” Yeni Akit said in the subheading for its article on the blaze.