Notre Dame Cathedral sustains damage from fire; millions donated for restoration


Katie Leskovec, Staff Writer

On April 15, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught on fire–the blaze damaging parts of the historic structure. People have since began donating to rebuild the cathedral.

At 6:20 pm local time on Monday, the fire alarm went off, and firefighters arrived. There was no sign of a fire and Universal Prayer had just started, so nobody wanted to stop. It wasn’t until a police officer went up to the priest that mass stopped, and the cathedral was evacuated.

At 6:43 pm, a second fire alarm went off. The fire was now visible, and 400 firefighters had been deployed. However, they were delayed due to rush hour, giving the fire more time to spread.

A before and after photo of the inside of the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Shortly before 8:00 pm, the spire toppled after burning completely, as citizens watched from the streets.

After 15 hours of burning, at 9:30 am on Tuesday, firefighters announced on Twitter that the fire had finally been extinguished. During that time, two policemen and a firefighter were injured, but not seriously.

The cause of the fire still has not been identified, but some officials believe it was a electrical short-circuit. But investigators still aren’t allowed inside the cathedral due to safety reasons.

The Notre Dame Cathedral, also known as the Notre Dame de Paris, which is French for Our Lady of Paris, is located on a small island called the Ile de la Cite in the middle of the River Seine. The construction of it began in 1163, and was completed in 1345. It has since undergone many renovations.

The Cathedral is home to many religious artifacts. Many survived the fire, including the famous Rose Windows, the bell towers, and the Crown of Thorns, which was believed to have been worn by Jesus as he was crucified.

Unfortunately, many other parts of the Cathedral were damaged. The central spire toppled after a little over an hour of burning. The organs were also damaged, and although they can be played, they will never sound the same as they once did. A majority of the oak roof, called “The Forest,” was also burned. This will be extremely difficult to replace, as there are no trees in France large enough to replace the beams.

Many people have began donating to restore the damaged parts of the Cathedral. As of Wednesday, April 17, nearly €800 million had been raised. Various companies and French billionaires donated millions of euros, such as L’Oreal, Francois Henri Pinault, and Bernard Arnault.

These donations have been receiving some backlash. People are willing to rebuild a church, but not donate to environmental and social problems, such as polluted oceans or world hunger.

American author Kristan Higgins tweeted, “…Donate to help Puerto Rico recover. Donate to get the people of Flint clean water. Donate to get kids out of cages. Jesus didn’t care about stained glass. He cared about humans.”

Writer and historian Mike Stuchbery wrote in the Huffington Post, “It’s important for some to remember that such a wonderful edifice was built to celebrate a faith that emphasizes giving aid and comfort to the poor, regardless of who they are.”