On Monday, April 15th, the Paris landmark's roof caught on fire, resulting in the collapse of its spire and a large portion of the roof, threatening one of the world's greatest religious and architectural structures.
The fire started at 6:50 p.m. after the cathedral was closed to the public. Nearby buildings were also evacuated as officials feared that the fire could spread to other buildings.
According to a fire service spokesman, officials have no reason to believe that the fire was a result of terrorism or arson. The Paris fire brigade was quoted by Paris media as saying the fire was potentially linked to a renovation project on the spire. However, the building has not yet been deemed safe enough to investigate the exact cause of the fire.
French president, Emmanuel Macron, promised the nation on Tuesday night that he would rebuild the cathedral that he called "a part of us." Macron also claimed that the renovated Notre Dame will be "more beautiful than before" within just five years, a timeframe that most experts find impossible.
Much to the relief of the church, a significant collection of art and holy objects inside the church had been recovered. In a tweet later, the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo thanked firefighters and others who formed a human chain to save artifacts. "The crown of thorns, the tunic of St. Louis and many other major artifacts are now in a safe place," she wrote.
Despite the devastating images, luckily no one was killed. However, two police officers were injured and one firefighter was seriously injured among the over 400 firefighters that fought the blaze for hours. After fully extinguishing it, firefighters continued cooling the building overnight in order to fully secure the remaining two towers.
The French prime minister Édouard Philippe said France will launch an international competition for architects to redesign the roofline of the cathedral. He said an estimation of the cost of rebuilding the cathedral had yet to be made. However, French billionaires, multinationals and private citizens have so far raised €880m (£762m) for the restoration. In terms of when the landmark would be reopened, Notre Dame's rector said he expected the building to remain closed to the public for five to six years.