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The peak of the church is undergoing a $6.8 million renovation project.
Firefighters believe the blaze is "potentially linked" to the renovation work of the building, reports Le Figaro. The 3-meter-tall statues were to be sent to southwestern France for work. Their original position was at the cathedral's peak, 300 feet up. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.
"There is no part of the building untouched by the irreparable loss of sculptural and decorative elements, let alone the alarming deterioration of structural elements", said the foundation. It has been modified on numerous occasions throughout the centuries since. The frame, the roof, and the spire are consumed.
The last time the cathedral suffered major damage was during the French Revolution.
Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre Dame de Paris. 'It's on my bucket list and now one of the historic landmarks is just gone! The current $6.8 million restoration was meant to preserve it for future generations.
The fire alarm was sounded at about 6:30 p.m. local time, a cathedral spokesman told told The New York Times. "Please respect the security perimeter". The stone portions of the building may survive more-or-less undamaged, but the artifacts contained within, the stained glass, the organ that dates to 1738, and the various reliquaries could be a complete loss. Twitter users are also documenting the scene.
French and USA troops celebrated there after liberating Paris from Germany in World War II, and for generations of Americans it's been a top tourist destination. Hard to see how [to] tackle this.
An Associated Press reporter at the scene of Monday's fire in Paris watched the flames blazing behind an oblong stained-glass window in the tower. We are mobilized on the spot in close connection with the @dioceseParis.
Beyond the Catholics who attend mass there and the tourists who go to look for a glimpse of Quasimodo, the cathedral represents a landmark in Parisian life that is now likely permanently scarred, if not disfigured or ruined.
Mr Macron has cancelled his planned speech to the nation following the fire, an Élysée Palace official said.