A Catastrophic Fire: The Notre-Dame Cathedral

By Kristina Esserian, Global Issues Junior Division Head. Photo found here


Notre-Dame: Before Fire. Photo found here.

The Notre-Dame Cathedral, officially known as the “Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris,” first undertook its construction in 1163 on the small island of  Île de la Cité in Paris, France. The magnificently designed Cathedral was made long ago out of a large variety of materials. This is part of the reason why it is so unique in its structure and difficult to replicate. Notre-Dame has been visited by countless individuals, both touring Paris and living there. Little did anyone know that such an atrocity would occur involving this notable Cathedral.

What Happened?

It all unveiled early Monday morning, around 6:30 am in Paris, France. The first alarm was sent out, issuing a warning for a fire. The emergency services checked for an indication of one anywhere, but NONE was found. Again, closer to 7am, an alarm was triggered, but this time it was no false alarm. Officials had found a rising fire in the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral beneath an arrangement of wooden beams, known as “the Forest”. Before one could make a move, residents of Paris stood in shock as the 300 ft “spire” of the Cathedral began to collapse. Jonathan Barnett, an expert in fire safety added, “Once these massive timber structures start to burn, they almost never can be stopped.” Services tried to take action, but it all happened  too quickly.

A Miracle

In the midst of all this commotion, a heroic priest, Father Jean-Marc Fournier, rushed towards the fire as others fled. The priest made his way through the dangerous fires, bringing Jesus’ crown of thorns to safety. This is a sacred symbol reminding us of the pain Jesus experienced, as he died for us on the cross had almost been burned to pieces. But, through the heroic actions of just one brave man, Jesus’ crown of thorns is fully intact, continuing to serve as a reminder of his love for us. Truly, this priest serves as an inspiration that one can always rise to the occasion in times of need. One courageous action can protect and preserve in times where it feels impossible.

The Aftermath

Fortunately, there were no deaths as a result of this massive Cathedral fire. Yet, sadly three were injured whilst attempting to stop it. One being a firefighter, and the other two police officers. Their efforts were enormous, but the fire too immense. As for the structure of the Cathedral itself, both the spire and the wooden shaft were destroyed. Still standing are two massive towers, and quite thankfully some of the interiors which appear as if they have remained untouched. The two haunting questions many are asking today are, “how did this fire occur?” and “what will be done about it?” To answer the first question, emergency services have been investigating thoroughly, yet no one has reached a conclusion as to how it all began. We are also unsure as to which works hidden inside the Cathedral have been destroyed or salvaged. What officials do indeed know is that the government of Paris is in charge of reconstructing the Notre-Dame Cathedral. Funding has already began, and it is estimated the repairs will cost a whopping several billion dollars! The president of France is also taking this under his own oath, as he has promised to have the structure rebuilt in about 5 years. This is an extremely complicated task, as most of the materials needed for the structure can no longer be found. While the Notre-Dame may eventually be rebuilt, it will never be the same.

Father God,

  • I pray that those who were injured from the fire are healed to proper conditions, and that they may be healthy again.
  • I pray that those who have witnessed this atrocity regain their strength, and find hope for the Cathedral once again.
  • I pray in thanks that Jesus’ crown of thorns, and other priceless works were safely retrieved.

In this time we give you thanks as you continue to watch over us, especially those in Paris, in times of great despair, need, and hope.