Huge fire breaks out at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Huge fire breaks out at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Sixteen statues that were part of Notre Dame’s now destroyed spire are safe and unscathed after removed as part of a renovation just days ago.

In one of the ironies surrounding the damage and destruction inflicted on the 12th Century cathedral, 16 green-grey statues representing the 12 apostles and 4 evangelists, were lowered by cranes from the site, now threatened by huge flames, and taken away.

The $6.8m renovation project marked the first time the statues had been removed in over a century, according to the Associated Press, an irony given that French media is now suggesting the fire may have been started by something associated with that same renovation.

The steeple collapses as smoke and flames engulf the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. – A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year. A spokesman for the cathedral told AFP that the wooden structure supporting the roof was being gutted by the blaze. (Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP)GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told reporters on Monday. 

The cathedral is home to numerous hugely valuable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions. 

“Right now, feeling so SO grateful that only 4 days ago the 16 copper statues were taken down from the spire of #NotreDame,“ tweeted Paris-Paris-based twitter user Elodie’s Paris

“12 apostles + 4 evangelists (St Luke = steer, St Mark = lion, St John = eagle & St Matthew = angel) They, at least, are safe.” 

The AP said the copper statues, each of them measuring around three meters, were lowered by a 100-meter crane, loaded onto a truck and taken for restoration in southwestern France.

Those 16 statues are not the only ones at Notre Dame. 

The cathedral contains statues of 28 biblical kings, that at one point were mistaken for French kings and attacked for being idolatrous. Their fate is not currently known.

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