Notre-Dame Fire


Paige Schneider, Staff Reporter

Notre-Dame is the most famous examples of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages. It is located at the eastern end of the  Île de la Cité in Paris. Construction began in 1160 when Maurice de Sully, the bishop of Paris, decided to convert the ruins of two previous churches into a single building. It took almost 200 years to finish the cathedral, which is almost as long as the entire Gothic period.

On April 15, 2019, a fire began to burn beneath the roof of the historic Notre-Dame Cathedral. Authorities rushed to put out the flames, though by the time the fire had been extinguished 15 hours later, most of the building’s roof, as well as its spire, had been destroyed. The cathedrals upper walls had attained serious damage. Thanks to the cathedrals stone vaulted ceiling, which contained most of the fire, extensive damage to the interior of the building was prevented. Some of the works of art located in the Cathedral were evacuated early before the fire had done much damage, but, sadly, many others were damaged or destroyed. The cathedral’s two pipe organs and three 13th century rose windows attained hardly any damage, and only three people were injured in the flames.

On April 16th it was declared that there was no sign of a deliberate attack. The Notre-Dame fire has been compared to the Windsor Castle and Uppark fire, which were both assumed to have started because of renovations. The renovations being done on the Notre-Dame cathedral presented a fire risk from sparks, short circuits, and heat from welding. Considering the cathedrals frame was made of dry timber, if a fire started in the roof it would be almost impossible to control.

President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, immediately launched a fundraising campaign in order to restore the piece of history. Macron described Notre-Dame as a place where French people “lived all of our great moments” and “the epicenter of our lives”. Over a two-day period, nearly 1 billion dollars were raised for the cause. Although that seems like a crazy amount of money, that billion dollars might not be enough to cover the restoration cost, which is estimated to take twenty or more years to be fully completed.