How the Notre Dame Cathedral fire unfolded

UK News | Published:

Here is a timeline of events.

A huge fire has destroyed parts of the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Here is how the devastating blaze unfolded.

Monday April 15, 5.50pm BST (6.50pm local time) – Reports begin to emerge of smoke coming from the building. The last visitors of the day are evacuated and the Paris Fire Brigade begin to fight flames emerging from the cathedral’s roof.

7.05pm – Part of the spire at Notre Dame collapses amid the raging fire.

7.10pm – A church spokesman tells French media that all of Notre Dame Cathedral’s frame is burning after the spire collapsed.

8.20pm – French president Emmanuel Macron arrives at the scene of the fire to meet with police officials.

8.30pm – The fire that destroyed the spire spreads to one of the church’s landmark rectangular towers. Paris police say firefighters have moved inside the cathedral.

8.50pm– An official at France’s Interior Ministry warns firefighters may not be able to save Notre Dame.


9.05pm – The fire chief in Paris says it is unclear if city firefighters will be able to keep the blaze from spreading and causing more destruction. “If it collapses, you can imagine how important the damage will be,” Jean-Claude Gallet says.

9.30pm – 400 firefighters are at the scene of the fire. Laurent Nunez, from France’s Interior Ministry, says the fire is not limited to a certain area and may continue to expand. The cause of fire remains unknown.

9.40pm – Parisians gather to pray and sing hymns outside the church of Saint Julien Les Pauvres across the river from Notre Dame.


10pm – Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says firefighters are optimistic they can salvage Notre Dame’s main towers from flames. People who live nearby have been evacuated in case of a collapse.

The Paris fire chief says the structure has been saved and the fire was stopped from spreading to the northern belfry.

Firefighters tackle the blaze
Firefighters tackle the blaze (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet confirms one firefighter was injured while tackling the blaze and says two-thirds of Notre Dame’s roofing “has been ravaged”. Fire crews will keep working overnight to cool down the structure.

10.30pm – Mr Macron calls the blaze a “terrible tragedy” and says a fund will be launched to raise money for repairs.

12am – Ms Hidalgo confirms on Twitter that the relic of the crown of thorns and a number of priceless artefacts were taken from the cathedral to Paris City Hall for safekeeping.

8am – The Paris Fire Service, Pompiers de Paris, said on Twitter that Notre Dame’s structure and artworks had been saved, with two police officers and one firefighter slightly wounded.

8.45am – Paris firefighters confirm that the blaze at Notre Dame cathedral has been fully extinguished.

9am – French billionaire Francois Pinault said he is pledging to donate 100 million euro (£86 million) to the rebuild as the cathedral is a “symbol of spirituality and our common humanity”.

The businessman said he expects others to follow suit as “it has to be a collective endeavour” to renovate the Parisian landmark.

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