Notre Dame set ablaze with fear and hope

The iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral was in all the headlines last week. Yet, past the flames spark hope of reconstruction and pride.


Photo by Maricruz Reyes

Added during a restoration in 1791, the iconic spire was the main victim of the fire, toppling to its demise.

Story by Josette Rivera, Staff Writer

  Standing tall on an island in the Seine River, the Notre-Dame de Paris has long since been the symbol and treasure of Paris for over eight centuries. According to New York Times, it’s visited by 30,00 people a day and by 13 million a year. However, on April 15, 2019, a fire broke out in the famous cathedral, permanently damaging the monument and the hearts of Parisians and Catholics all over the world.

  Beginning at 6:30 p.m. (CET), the fire was speculated to have been caused by the recent renovations that had been going on in the cathedral. Due to the large amount of timber beams and pillars in the cathedral ceiling and upper levels, nicknamed “the forest,” the fire was fueled to grow into a towering inferno before firefighters could arrive on the scene. The fire crawled up the cathedral’s roof and 295-foot spire, causing two-thirds of the ceiling and the entire spire to collapse.

  Fighting the flame for about five hours, this horrific event came to a close near 11 p.m. Fortunately, no deaths have been reported, and all injuries so far have been minimal, excluding one firefighter in critical condition.

  “I was shocked when I heard about Notre-Dame. The cathedral is is a piece of art and one of the most important European cultural achievements. I believe the near-destruction of Notre-Dame will lead to a conservation movement throughout Europe and the rest of the western world because of the massive media coverage of the fire,” Zach Ahern (12) said.

  While the extent of the damage is still unclear, the fact that centuries-old art and relics are now destroyed is irrefutable. However, some artifacts have fortunately been saved, including 16 copper statues that had previously been relocated for renovations; the crown of thorns believed to have been worn by Jesus during his crucifixion, one of the most sacred treasures in the Catholic faith, was saved; and the two famous towers still stand.

  Since the French President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to rebuild the fire-devastated Notre-Dame, multiple celebrities, politicians, charities, and even the U.S. Government have raised 900 million euros in just two days to reconstruct the damaged building.

  “Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberation, the epicenter of our lives,” said Macron while standing in front of the burning Paris landmark.