A scene out of a nightmare: Notre Dame Cathedral, a world landmark and a symbol of France, is on fire

Unimaginable. Gut-wrenching. A tragedy.

Gazing at a television display, I just noticed an actual-life sight that’s something out of a nightmare: Consumed in flames, the elegant spire of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral toppled, snapping off its base just like the department of a tree.

The cathedral’s roof has reportedly collapsed. Plumes of smoke are rising above its stone facade. Firefighters on cherry-picker platforms are dousing the cathedral, making an attempt to put out the flames.

The awful scene brings to mind the fires that consumed the World Trade Middle on Sept. 11, 2001, but as awful a human tragedy as that was, the twin towers weren’t nice works of architecture.

Notre Dame most assuredly is.

The good Gothic cathedral, which is nestled on an island in the midst of the Seine River, is a logo of Paris and of France itself.

The cathedral represents French survival, having outlasted the Hundred Years’ Struggle, the French Revolution and two World Wars. It has no precise equal in Chicago—not even the historic, fort-like Water Tower that survived the Nice Hearth of 1871.

French President Emmanuel Macron underscored the cathedral’s energy as a national icon when he tweeted Monday that he was saddened to see “part of us being on hearth.”

The cathedral’s muscular twin-towered facade, delicate rose windows, hovering nave, sleek flying buttresses and famous bells — immortalized in Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” the story of the bell ringer Quasimodo — are landmarks beloved by individuals all over the world.

The reason for Monday’s hearth isn’t instantly clear, but officers say it might be linked to renovation work, in accordance with BBC Information.

If that connection turns out to be true, the conflagration would recall the 2006 hearth that destroyed all but the exterior walls of Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler’s Pilgrim Baptist Church on Chicago’s South Aspect. The 2006 hearth broke out throughout roof repairs.

“You assume that individuals are taking the right precautions if they’re using open flames,” stated Gunny Harboe, a Chicago architect who focuses on historic preservation. “But clearly mistakes typically get made.”

Typically, he defined, contractors use a flame on asphalt supplies, like a building’s roof, that must be heated immediately.

The first stone at Notre Dame was laid in 1163. The construction is the byproduct of a surge of cathedral constructing that swept over France within the 12th and thirteenth centuries.

The cathedrals have “lovely however fragile roof techniques which are made out of wooden,” stated Harboe, who has visited Notre Dame a number of occasions. “When the roof is centuries previous, it’s just tinder. It doesn’t take much to get it going.”

Notre Dame has been broken earlier than, though in all probability to not this extent.

“In the course of the French Revolution, the cathedral was plundered and the kingly statues lining the facade have been beheaded,” Reuters reported in 2012, as the cathedral ready to…

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