Famed Gothic cathedral catches fire in France (VIDEOS)

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The spire of a famous church in Rouen has erupted in flames, according to the city’s mayor

France’s famous Rouen cathedral has caught fire, the city’s mayor, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, has reported on his official X (formerly Twitter) account. He said flames had engulfed the spire of the building, built in the eleventh century. The monument is known for being favored and painted multiple times by renowned French impressionist Claude Monet.

The mayor said that the origin of the blaze is still unknown, and that firefighters have been mobilized. Images posted on social media showed flames spewing out somewhere near the top of the building. Restoration work has been going on at the cathedral since 2015, according to French media.

Social media users say firefighters have arrived at the scene and are currently working to tackle the blaze.

The Gothic Notre-Dame de Rouen has the tallest church spire in France, soaring over 150 meters above the ground.

Local authorities said the cathedral had been evacuated and a security cordon placed around the building. 

The local prefecture later said on X that the fire was contained. The extent of damage to the structure is unclear for now.

Images from the scene were reminiscent of another devastating blaze that broke out at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris in 2019. That fire also started during renovations, and ended up destroying Notre Dame’s iconic spire. Arson was speculated to be the cause, but investigators later said that there was no criminality involved.

The renovation of the cathedral is ongoing. Philippe Jost, chief of the reconstruction project, previously pledged that the spire would be back in place by this summer’s Paris Olympics, which kick off later this month. However, work will continue and the cathedral will not reopen until at least December, Paris authorities have said.

 

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