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Notre-Dame Fire Photos: Despair and Grief Amid Smoke and Flame

Category: Europe,World

A devastating fire swept through Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris Monday evening, severely damaging one of the city’s most storied landmarks and one of the Catholic world’s most sacred sites.

[President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral. Read the news story here.]

The blaze, which started Monday evening, caused the church’s spire to collapse and ruined two-thirds of its roof. By Monday night, firefighters said the church’s overall structure had been saved, and its two towers, perhaps its most recognized feature, would withstand the effects of the fire.

The cause of the fire, in which no one was injured, was not yet known.

Here are photos from the scene of the blaze:

Nearly 500 firefighters raced to the scene and were able to eventually get the fire under control. Thousands of Parisians gathered in the vicinity of the cathedral to watch the effort to save it, and pray. Many were in tears.

[See photos of Notre-Dame before the fire.]

On social media, world leaders, celebrities and ordinary citizens expressed their grief over the fire, and their hope that the building, and its rich trove of sacred religious treasures, would be rescued.

As the last rush of tourists were trying to get in for the day, the doors of Notre-Dame were abruptly shut without explanation, witnesses said. Within moments, white smoke started rising from the spire, which, at 295 feet, was the highest part of the cathedral.

As it billowed out, the smoke started turning gray, then black, making it clear that a fire was growing inside the cathedral, which is covered in scaffolding. Soon, orange flames began punching out of the spire, quickly increasing in intensity.

Work on Notre-Dame, a celebrated icon of medieval architecture, began in 1163 and was completed in 1345. The cathedral, on an island in the center of Paris, is visited by about 13 million people a year.

“It is like losing a member of one’s own family,” said Pierre Guillaume Bonnet, 45, a marketing director. “For me there are so many memories tied up in it,” he said of the cathedral.

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