Everything to Know About the Notre-Dame Fire

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. Photo: LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday afternoon, the historic Notre-Dame cathedral was engulfed in flames — an incident that has spurred mourning both online and in the Paris streets, where people coalesced to grieve the devastation of the iconic 12th-century landmark. Here’s everything we know so far.

How did the fire start?

At approximately 6:50 p.m. local time, firefighters were dispatched to the Notre-Dame cathedral, out of which flames and black smoke were billowing. It wasn’t until 11:30 p.m. local time that the fire was reportedly contained.

Do we know the cause?

As of yet, no official cause has been named. However, the AP reports that the Paris Fire Brigade believes the blaze is “potentially linked” to the 20-year, €6 million, long overdue renovation project the cathedral was undergoing. (Paris prosecutors believe the fire was started accidentally.)

How much damage has been done?

An immense amount. CNBC reports that both the spire and the roof collapsed and that the flames spread to one of the cathedral’s towers.

However, French president Emmanuel Macron is optimistic. In an address to the nation on Tuesday evening local time, Macron vowed to rebuild the Notre-Dame in five years, saying that it will be “even more beautiful.”

“We can do this,” he continued.

As France 24 reports, firefighters were able to save the cathedral from “complete destruction.” As of Tuesday, both towers are still standing and per CNN, many of the cathedral’s most valuable pieces of art and artifacts were saved: notably, the Crown of Thorns, Tunic of Saint Louis, the Great Organ, the Rose Windows, and the Mays de Notre Dame paintings.

Was anyone hurt?

Per Paris police, there have been no confirmed deaths and no reported injuries.

How have people responded?

In Paris, the night of the fire, locals gathered outside the cathedral to weep and mourn the devastation through hymns.

Some people, such as Salma Hayek’s billionaire husband, have offered financial support. On Monday night, François-Henri Pinault — who’s the CEO of Kering, the luxury-goods group that owns Gucci and Saint Laurent — announced his family was donating €100 million ($113 million) to help rebuild the cathedral.

What about officials?

Macron treated the fire as a national emergency, writing on Twitter as the fire raged on, “I am sad to see this part of us burn tonight.” But after firefighters put out the flames, he took a more optimistic tone, vowing to reporters in French, “Notre-Dame will be rebuilt.” (He vocalized his five-year goal the next day.)

Former president Barack Obama also extended his condolences to France on Twitter, writing that it’s “in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.” (Trump tweeted, too.)

Even New York City mayor Bill de Blasio weighed in, saying in a statement that “New York City is mourning with Paris.”

Emmanuel Macron Vows to Rebuild the Notre-Dame in 5 Years