tv Outside Source BBC News April 15, 2019 9:00pm-10:00pm BST
flames. catholic cathedral, still in flames. the spire has collapsed. part of the roof has collapsed. people's prayers and thoughts around the world to try and thoughts around the world to try and save this building. hello, i'm ros atkins, this is outside source. we'll continue to bring you coverage from paris where notre dame cathedral is on fire. this is the situation at the moment. the authorities have said they're "not sure" if the fire can be stopped. the cathedral is 850 years old, and survived the second world war — but it is in grave danger now. this is the moment one of the main spires of the cathedral collapsed. the cause is not yet clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work. president macron has cancelled a important policy speech and arrived at the scene earlier. he says it's like seeing part of the french people burn. we'll have ongoing
coverage here on bbc news. ca ptu res captures the scale of what we have seen. notre dame cathedral has been devastated by fire. these are the live pictures. the fire continues to burn. the cathedral of notre dame is notjust one of paris's most famous landmarks — it's one of france's biggest cultural sites, and one of the world's most famous tourist attractions. the fire began about three hours ago and the flames spread rapidly. it's engulfed much of the building. when the fire reached the roof the main spire collapsed. inside, it's feared the flames will have destroyed
much of the interior, including priceless artefacts. hundreds of firefighters are still attempting to control the blaze and the fire service has said that the next hour is crucial. they can't use water—bombing aircrafts in this case — because it could cause the whole building to collapse. on the right of that shot, a couple of hoses being used to douse the fla mes of hoses being used to douse the flames from the ground, because to do so from the air would not many of those watching from beyond the security cordon have been in tears. i'm joined now by our paris correspondent hugh schofield. tell us more. i am standing on the left bank, at a distance of about 2 hammaad munshi —— 00 metres from the cathedral. i have been here for the
last three hours, shortly after the fire began, what has gone is the rolling boiling fire we saw at the beginning which was, you know, tens of metres high consuming the roof when i arrived. it looked monstrous. that has gone and what i am seeing now is a glow, a glow of fire, and occasion licks of flame above the stone parapet which is the height of the building. the roof has gone, disappeared, but the fire is still burning, but nothing like at the same degree of concentration and intensity it was an hour ago, there are fire crews here now directing two or three hoses from ladders on to the roof or the roof structure, what was the roof, that is still burning there. i guess the hope is they will be able to contain the fire in the next hour or so, to the roof, put it out on the beams which are still on fire there, and assess
the damage within, but, you know, as to the permanent state of the building, i would to the permanent state of the building, iwould hesitate to the permanent state of the building, i would hesitate to make a guess. i mean it is a stone building, fires as we know from medieval times were regular occurrences so i medieval times were regular occurrences so i don't think there is any reason to doubt that the building will survive, but it won't be visitable for years i would have thought to come. as you know but for people who haven't been to paris, explain how much wood is involved in the structure of this cathedral. the roof was clearly made of wood and that has gone up, the spire, the famous spire we saw collapsing in that dramatic scene after about and hour of the fire, that is, was a dramatic scene but it is not a fundamentally part of the building. i don't think it would have been largely lined with melt that would
have made it collapse. —— led. have made it collapse. -- led. the walls and towers at the front are symbolic and they are standing. has there been structural damage to the building as a whole? who know, i would be more optimistic than not. medieval buildings have a lwa ys than not. medieval buildings have always had fires and roof fires and stayed standing. the building is stone held up by the flying buttresses round the outside. as long as they are intact i don't see why the building should be in danger. what is happening on the pavements of paris around the cathedral at the moment? well, i am with a crowd of several hundred people who originally we were right up people who originally we were right up against the river, because of course, the cathedral gives tonnes the river. we have been pushed back
by police and soldiers, as i say about 200 yards grey the cathedral, and they are on because people are coming and going, i could hear some people sing, it seems to be probably hymns or psalms. a lot of people just quiet really, there is no huge reaction, no huge discussion going on, just a look of aw and shock and sadness on the faces of parisians for whom this building is a central pa rt for whom this building is a central part of their lives and of every parisian life for nearly 1,000 yea rs. parisian life for nearly 1,000 years. . e and shock and sadness on the faces of parisians for whom this building isa the faces of parisians for whom this building is a central part of their lives and of every parisian life for nearly 1,000 years. that was hugh schofield. you can see some firefighters on the end of the cranes spraying water into the parts of the cathedral where they believe the fire is burning at its most fierce. remember we have had state m e nts fierce. remember we have had statements after a number of people including donald trump suggested
dropping water on to the cathedral would be a good idea, the fire service in paris said that wouldn't bea service in paris said that wouldn't be a good idea, because the weight of the water could threaten the structure of the cathedral. before we speak to another journalist covering this story, who saw the spire collapse, let me first of all show you this dramatic moment which has been very, very wide her shared. just heartbreak, it teared and then crashed into the flames. seamus kearney is a journalist who saw the spire collapse. just describe it with your words, please. 0h, absolutely a sense of helplessness, you know, tens of thousands of people gathered along the seine, along the river front and watching the fire and just absolutely the sense of you know, people saying where are the helicopter, where are the hose, where are the firefighters, and the
fire spread so quickly, i was there right from the very beginning, there was a lot of smoke. smoke: those fla mes was a lot of smoke. smoke: those flames are burning inside the structure, the moment when it fell, it was horrific. horrific, people we re it was horrific. horrific, people were gasping in shock, itself has to be said when i first of all approached notre—dame there were many tourist, people were walking in the opposite direction convinced this may have been an attack or something, there was little information, and the people gather just really, the sense of shock. we saw after an hour a hose that was visible, trying to put out some of the flames but it was spreading
quickly across the roof towards the two bell tower, and the flames did ta ke two bell tower, and the flames did take hold and one of the bell tow eve i’s take hold and one of the bell tow evers and luckily it was a hose that managed to reach up high enough to put out the flames. we know the authorities have said there will be an inquiry into what happened and how the response went as well. those matters will be left for another day, we don't know what started this fire, the only suggestion has been it may be cuttinged to the extensive restoration work that is going on, though that has not been confirmed. help us understand the degree to which, unfortunately he has had to go. thank you very much to him for speaking to us. let us remind ourselves of how important this cathedral is. the famous 850—year—old church is in the centre of paris here you can see it alongside other famous landmarks.
it sits on an island flanked by the river seine. here is what it used to look like. you can see the island there, we will be able to show you the island ina minute will be able to show you the island in a minute and also, this is the facade we know so well, and this is the roof which has all be gone, this, the spire which has collapsed. this part of the cathedral, for the moment at least on the exterior appears to have been far less affected although it is difficult for us tojudge, because affected although it is difficult for us to judge, because the amount of information shared by the authorities is limited and there is so so authorities is limited and there is so so much you authorities is limited and there is so so much you can authorities is limited and there is so so much you can tell from the pictures being filed from cameras a couple of hundred of metres away. here is some more wire copy coming
in. let us show you this. there are a range of priority, the number one will be the structure of build being itself but there are many paintings and different artefacts inside they will be december plait to save. if you are been online to follow this you are been online to follow this you will know the bbc is running a live page. one of my colleagues is helping to contribute to and here's the facade. henri astierfrom bbc online is here. we associate the eiffel tower the most with paris i sense for parisians their heart is more connected to notre—dame.” parisians their heart is more connected to notre-dame. i am not sure, what it is, if there the one sight that symbolises the permanence of the french nation, it is notre—dame, the eiffel tower goes back little over a century, notre—dame has been there for over
eight century, and it is such a fixture of the landscape. it also of the inner landscape of every parisian. what do you mean by the inner landscape? i mean that parisians are probably not known to be particularly jolly parisians are probably not known to be particularlyjolly people, in fa ct we be particularlyjolly people, in fact we are, we tend to be miserable but it is impossible to walk along the seine near the ile de la cite, that central island, and see this beautiful gothic bulk without feeling your spirits rise. that is one of the few things when you live in paris, that makes you happy to be there. it is just there. in paris, that makes you happy to be there. it isjust there. and it in paris, that makes you happy to be there. it is just there. and it has been there for such a long time as well. if your spirit rises when you see it i wonder how your spirit is when we see this awful pictures. just as you said heartbreaking, it is difficult for me to be far away and watch it, i suppose every french person. it makes you want to be
home. i want to be there. yes, it really hit grouse the —— hits you in the gut. in terms of how the city recovers from this, we record reported on notre—dame last year because there was a campaign to help raise funds to help with the rest rankings it needed some love and attention. this is one of the few things where the french people would be happy to use tax money for, tax isa be happy to use tax money for, tax is a wig big issue but i don't recall anybody complaining about the restoration work there. which is why it is so ago indonesiaing, people don't even know that the building is going to survive. i mean, i don't know if you realise, this is much more than st paul's cathedral for the londoners, because you have the houses of parliament, you have lots of grand old buildings, this is as grand and as old as it gets for the
parisian, and it really, it is a national treasure, after all the, notre—dame de. victor hugo's book, the hunchback of notre dame. you are also reporting for the bbc news live page what are the significant news developments we have heard in the last couple of hours. each time we have had a spokesman from the cathedral, say for instance they are not certain that the building itself can survive, as you consider were say, we don't know how vulnerable the structure is to the fire. there isa the structure is to the fire. there is a possibility as we speak that the building might not be standing tomorrow. really? well, that is, if you, if i read what one of the spokesmen for the cathedral said,
they said it is possible that the whole thing might collapse. we don't know, but this is incredible. what do we know about the scale of operation that is going on? do we know about the scale of operation that is going 0mm do we know about the scale of operation that is going on? it is huge. they are throwing everything at it, but, as huw explained, it is ha rd to at it, but, as huw explained, it is hard to tell what they can and cannot do. there is a sense of hopelessness. and a quick word about the area around the cathedral, obviously it is on a very small island in a closely packed part of the city, presumably that doesn't help organise a large fire fighting organisation? i would have thought not. yes, the road leading to the ile de la cite are quite small, and i suppose they are mobilising firefighters from everywhere, for all those people to converge, at this time of day, on a crowded street, it was probably quite difficult but not there i am not
sure. understandably we, everyone has seen the spire coming down and we focussed on the building itself, but within it, for people watching who have never had the privilege there are so many things witness this cathedral we wouldn't want the lose. there is priceless artwork. i am told. strangely enough it is just like every national treasure, it is great to know it is there, you rarely visit it. i lived for about 30 years in a parisian, i probably visited three or four time, each time with visitors, but yes, one of the things i notice on the pictures it seems that the stained glass windows are gone. that is one thing the fire would, i mean, and those we re the fire would, i mean, and those were absolutely magnificent. it was a huge loss that, in itself plus all the things that were inside.
finally, a word about the politics, we thought our lead story would be this big speech from president macron, responding to the process of the yellow jacket, i macron, responding to the process of the yellowjacket, i guess all french politics has to wait for another day. that will unite everyone, because it was such, as i said a national symbol, whether you are ridges you or not, most french are ridges you or not, most french are secular and many don't have religion, but that will unite whole nation in grief and dismay. religion, but that will unite whole nation in grief and dismaylj religion, but that will unite whole nation in grief and dismay. i will let you get back to the news room. you can follow through the bbc live page, that is on the bbc news app and the website. andrei popoviciu is a graduate student in paris and is currently at the place saint—micheljust across from the cathederal. thank you for speaking to us, tell us thank you for speaking to us, tell us what you can see. hi there, i am
right across from the cathedral in saint michel fountain. there is more people come, people are singing, there is a very interesting, there isa group there is a very interesting, there is a group of people who have been singing for about two hours now, since i got here, everyone seems to be pretty worn down, there seems to be pretty worn down, there seems to be massive for everyone, we are still waiting to see what is happening, everyone is watching in shock. how close to the cathedral are you and everyone else able to get? so there is police rounding us up. there is two bridges in front of us, so there is quite, quite a distance between the massive group i am in, and the cathedral. but i would say it is live like a five minute walk, maybe, but yes, for like two hours now they have blocked access towards the cathedral, and we can't get closer than this. as i am
talking to you, we are seeing one set of pictures coming in, showing the cathedral and we can see it reasonably well, are there are flood lights lighting up the building. no, iamat lights lighting up the building. no, i am at the front of the cathedral, so we i am at the front of the cathedral, so we can't really see the fire behind but we can see the smoke and there is light from there. i can see now actually torches and lights lighting it up. it is hard to see, there is a lot of people here, but yeah with the visibility is not great, iam yeah with the visibility is not great, i am going to try and get a bit closer. don't get any closer than you are allowing to or that is safe. can you smell the smoke?m has been for, when i first got here, the fire was kind of not as strong as it is now, but now i can meg the
smoke in the air and it has got worse since i first came here. —— smell the smoke. the firefighters are doing what they can and throwing water. and it is where are we, ten past ten in the evening now, are people who are out on the pavements starting to go home or are they staying? so when i first got here there was a big wave of people, it was really crowded, now i am seeing more and more people coming back, there is more people singing, more taking pictures, so the massive crowd seems to leave for now, i'd say there is still as many people as there were when i first got here even though some left. thank you for speaking to us. iam sure i am sure you will have heard there is the most serious of fires at
notre—dame, the firefighters at the scene are saying they are making effo rts scene are saying they are making efforts to save some of the artwork within it, perhaps more pressing still they are trying to prevent the colla pse still they are trying to prevent the collapse of the northern tower of the cathedral. remember, the roof appears to have already burned through and the spire collapsed a couple of hours ago, and just to recommend fa sighs the importance of this building to paris, and to france and the whole world, this dates back, this is the moment, terrible moment with the spire falling down and collapsing into the raging fire below. this is a tourist traction which is visited by millions, one of the most popular in europe. europe. it dates back over 800 years. it contains the wood of thousands of tree, particularly within its roof but that is believed to have burned through. as we are
hearing from henry, the building that symbolises the longevity of this sip city. this dates back almost nine centuries. the opposition british mp yvette cooper is in paris. spoke to my colleague earlier. we were walking along the seine and the sky was clear about 6.30 and by seven the sky was clear about 6.30 and by seven the sky was thick with smoke and you could see the flames licking the spire. it was just heartbreaking, that this could have happened so quickly and people are stopping by the bridgejust happened so quickly and people are stopping by the bridge just gaping, in horror at what was happening. it is unbelievable this could happen. really awful. was there any indication where you were of how this might have started, did you hear anything? no, not at all, and
most people were just stopping, just to stair at how awful it was. and people being deeply fearful that anybody could have been caught up in it, fearfulfor anybody could have been caught up in it, fearful for anybody who anybody could have been caught up in it, fearfulfor anybody who might have been near the flames and for the firefighters. we could see the jets of water, we could see that just after seven, and then obviously we saw the rose window blow as well, the flames started to flicker out from there and the roof starting to go. so incredibly fast that it happened because there were no fla mes happened because there were no flames in the sky three—quarters of an hour before. to see be you have centuries of history, and beauty, just disappear into the flames so quickly, just feels unimaginable. have you heard anything to suggestion this was anything other
than an accident. i can't see any reason to see any cause at all from where we were standing, we were, i don't think could tell that is obviously matter for the fire investigators and i am sure they will do a thorough forensicjob. that is for them. right now everybody‘s just stuck with the awfulness of losing something so process , awfulness of losing something so process, the damage that is being done. and it was hard to tell, yvette, from the pictures we were getting into the news room as to how quick the response was, was that something,er was there firefighters on the ground, anyone in the air. we couldn't see helicopters? . the helicopters you could hear in the sky by round seven. or maybe by about 7.15. i don't know when it started. we noticed the smoke in the
sky, just before seven, ten to seven #13lig sky, just before seven, ten to seven #134g like that and it grew quickly, you could hear the helicopter in the sky, you could hear the sirens going andi sky, you could hear the sirens going and i think by about 7.15 we could see the jets from where we were standing, the jets of water, what looked like jets of water being fired as well. it was how fast the fla mes fired as well. it was how fast the flames took off. and how fast they spread as well. that was just so shocking about it all. were people being kept back from the area, was that immediate emergency response tea m that immediate emergency response team on the scene? we couldn't see what was happening on the ground but the nature of notre—dame is you can see it from all along the seine. you can see it from either side of the islands, you can see it from far
away and so that is why all along the banks of the seine you have people stopping by the bridge, motorbikes pulling up, people stopping, just to stop and stare in horror, at what was happening. but we couldn't see what was happening on the ground. i don't know if you we re on the ground. i don't know if you were with family or friend, but the response of those you were with and those round you? i am here with my daughter, and we just, those round you? i am here with my daughter, and wejust, it is awful, it was unbearable to watch. we watched the spire fall and moved away from the seine because it was so away from the seine because it was so tragic, to see what was happening, and you can see, people, parisian really moving down towards the seine but people pulling away, almost in sadness as well. it is, as we know it is such an immensely important historic and iconic building for the city, but also, for
people from much further afield as some of the windows have been destroyed already. here's emmanuel macron. here's the mayor of paris. it says: "a terrible fire is under way at notre—dame cathedral in paris. there are no suggestion anyone isn't respecting the security perimeter, this is interesting from the former president of france, saying this is a wound to see this ravaged by the fla mes a wound to see this ravaged by the flames and if you look at the way
not just french people flames and if you look at the way notjust french people but many people round the world are reacting it isa people round the world are reacting it is a kev stating moment to see these pictures coming in. —— a devastating moment. the firefighters say the next few minutes are crucial. this is new copy coming in, the paris fire chief says it is unclear if firefighters will be able to keep this blaze from spreading and causing more destruction, he spoke outside the cathedral. he said we are not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading to the second tower, so this is about preventing the whole building becoming engulfed rather than saving some of the sections which have been terribly damaged. he goes on to say. let me bring this up again. if it collapses you can bring this up again. if it collapses you can manage bring this up again. if it collapses you can manage how important the damage will be. shiv malik is an eyewitness at the scene and gave this account to the bbc in the last hour.
iam in iamina i am in a book shop shakespeare and company people will know it well. i am on the third or fourth floor of this building, about 150 metres away from the cathedral, so i can kind of, i have a decent view of the roof, about an hour—and—a—half ago, so roof, about an hour—and—a—half ago, so probably about 7.00 local time is when the first flames started to lick up through the roof. just where the spire is and where they had set up the spire is and where they had set up scaffolding for the renault investigations, within 45 minutes the flames had progressed to the front of the building where the twin towers are and gutted the entire roof scape and it had fallen in, the central spire fell in, and in fact, from where i am standing i can see that another, the flames have died
down a bit. your can see half of the spire fell into the building and crashed through the scalding leaving a gaping hole. while the other half of the spire is being propped up by the scaffolding, currently while it remains ablaze, certainly glowing, there are thousands and thousands of tiny bits of embers just up going there are thousands and thousands of tiny bits of embersjust up going up through the sky and you can see them now, that night has descended in paris. and the horrifying scene is the left belltower is now a light. i can see the flames are there, in one of the bell towers in the to the right into the back. you probably cannot see it but it's definitely a light now. and thatis but it's definitely a light now. and that is definitely tragic. looking at what the firemen have been doing it, they put their hoses directly into the seine, pumping it straight
out into the seine and as fast as they can into the cathedral. the central cathedral is in fact very ha rd to central cathedral is in fact very hard to imagine, not complete the on fire, having watched those timbers go in. it is very tall building. it is probably another 15 to the top of the belltower. that amount of flames... not coming from the roof because the roof is just not there any more. it is going at the heart of the cathedral and it's getting it as we speak. and little bit earlier, as we speak. and little bit earlier, a spokesperson for notre dame said... the level of damage to the building is going to be extensive, is the asked
-- is —— is the expectation. just want to redo this copy from a couple of minutes ago. let me show you notre dame cathedral google street view. any of you who have been here will insta ntly any of you who have been here will instantly reckon is this is where tourists gather. this is the northern tower, this is the southern tower, and you'll also reference to the belfry. the belfry is in the southern tower. at the moment, it is the northern tower which is causing concern. as we read, the warning is if this tower cannot be saved, if it would collapse, that would fundamentally undermine the structure of the whole building. we are hoping it does not come to that. sandira calviac is in paris this evening. she was having a drink with friends and heard the news and headed to the notre dame. tell us what you can see from where you are. hello. thanks for having me
here. wish there was other circumstances. what i'm seeing now is the fire still going on, still very strong. this is really disheartening for people are in shock all around. lots of blank faces, really. iam shock all around. lots of blank faces, really. i am standing, shock all around. lots of blank faces, really. iam standing, to give you an idea, at the back of notre—dame. i am looking at where used to be the tower that collapsed earlier. and we can see some footage of water being sprayed onto the building. from where you are, how extensive does that firefighting operation seems to be? you can see they are working very hard. from my vantage point, it looks, to be honest, it doesn't look like it's doing anything but i'm not there.
i'm nota doing anything but i'm not there. i'm not a professional. just... heartbreaking. it is heartbreaking, and sandira, tell us about the conversation you had with other people witnessing what is happening. i was hanging out with a friend of mine. we arejust i was hanging out with a friend of mine. we are just discussing what is going to happen afterwards stop the aftermath of that. but... discussing with you guys, ijust had a glass of red wine and a chocolate cake come and talk to the woman who had been there for 20 years. we kind of broke into tears together. you have every
kind of reaction. people are laughing from nervousness, laughing because it's stressing, people are crying... it's been striking, hasn't it, how emotional people's reaction has been to this? yeah. like a part of, she is a part of us. and people have very... yeah. sorry. it's difficult... you don't need to say sorry. and for people who don't know the city, why is it that this particular building is part of you, as you put it was ? she is 900 years old, i believe.
she has been through wars, fires, pretty much everything. we don't even know the cause right now but it is just frustrating, frustrating, that she has been through so much. we appreciate you speaking to us. thank you very much indeed, sandira. sending you best wishes. that is sandira, who met a friend for a drink and this started happening. to reiterate what sandira was saying. it has been through two world wars. the most damage that has happened... and if ordinary piece of architecture. an expert in every pa rt architecture. an expert in every part of french culture. —— an expert in every part. danny aeberhard, the bbc world service europe editor is here.
interesting talking to sandira, she got across very well that this building is connected to the french nation unlike any other french building is. the only other building thatis building is. the only other building that is near that is the eiffel tower. it does not have the same residence in the french culture for some it is such a unique building, notre—dame, and it is breaking hearts and more than just friends. london mayor sadiq khan has said the pictures are heartbreaking. uncle merkel has issued her condolences. people write around the world looking at a rate old building and feeling helpless that they cannot do anything to actually save it's —— angela merkel. before you came to us, lots of stories on bbc radio stations. what kind of story trained to pull out in the moments?
reactions. the incredulity to the disaster. it's too early for us to know much about what caused it. the finger of suspicion very largely at the renovation work. there was about 11 million euros worth of renovation works being done on the building as we spoke... can you explain as we are speaking what you see at the left side of that shot, scaffolding. absolutely. they're working on the above the main transept in the church. this was a spire added in the 19th century. they had been doing other things. only a few days ago, about three days ago, there was ago, about three days ago, there was a very joyous story ago, about three days ago, there was a veryjoyous story about how 12 statues of the apostles and four other evangelists were actually airlifted off and brought off the cathedral to be renovated. those are actually quite bizarrely safe. those we re actually quite bizarrely safe. those were be restored but the question
is, there is now nothing to put them back on, which is really quite bizarre. but it's a veryjoyous story at the time and it's turned into something blue the different. explain to those of you who have just tuned in, what we seeing there is the north tower and the south tower, both on the right—hand side, but there would have been a roof where there is now a gap 24 hours ago. we were watching the first pictures that came out on social media with smoke. there weren't even any flames. it was difficult initially to assess whether this was simply something that had caught, could be contained, or some thing that was smoldering. and then suddenly, boom, we have all these fla mes suddenly, boom, we have all these flames leaking out of the roof. and in the space of an hour, everything started to collapse, the tower and the roof itself, and then obviously fire inside as some of these things fall inside the structure. it's very difficult to know what will survive,
and our correspondent hugh schofield says mediaeval cathedrals were burnt in the past and sometimes the stone does survive. in the south of france, there is a major church there were you can see the black into columns or previous fire. they we re into columns or previous fire. they were left chatters. —— the black into columns from a previous fire. they may be left intact in spite of these scorching temperatures. let's just show everyone watching at the moment, what has caught people's attention the most, pictures from earlier. people working on this spire. this was the 19th century spire. this was the 19th century spire that collapsed that was over the transept. spire that collapsed that was over the tra nsept. obviously spire that collapsed that was over the transept. obviously the most iconic part of notre—dame is, as you we re iconic part of notre—dame is, as you were saying, the north and south towers there, which are much
earlier. they go back to the initial construction of the building and they were built in the 13th century. the building are julie, they were built in the 13th century. the building arejulie, a very important part of the early gothic works that started in about 1163, the foundation stone. in the works we re the foundation stone. in the works were largely finished about 100 yea rs were largely finished about 100 years ago. and then obviously later, they continued to do renovation works in addition. danny, thank you very much. we appreciate you stepping up from the newsroom. that is danny aeberhard, who works as europe editorfor is danny aeberhard, who works as europe editor for the is danny aeberhard, who works as europe editorfor the bbc radio service. let me read to read a couple of things. if you're not familiar with the geography of central paris, let me show you where going cathedral is. it is on an island just in the middle of the seine. you have the eiffel tower here, to the north, the arc de
triomphe. the louvre isjust there was beautiful gardens. just beyond the river, you have notre—dame. this is also worth emphasising. this is google street view. this is where many thousands of tourists gather every day. the focus at the moment is on the northern tower. the authorities were saying there is a possible structural threats to the northern tower. their priority is to prevent anything from collapsing which in turn could affect the structure entirely. at the moment, thatis structure entirely. at the moment, that is not necessarily happening. at work is going on to prevent it. let me also bring in some of the images we have got here of the cathedral in different states. this is one famous gargoyle. this cathedral took almost 200 years to build. it was started in 1163 during the reign of king louis vii and was completed in 1345.
it is the most famous of the gothic cathedrals of the middle ages. this is a famous gargoyle pictured in the 1920s. the last time the cathedral suffered major damage was during the french revolution. it survived two world wars largely unscathed. and the visitor figures are extraordinary. around 13 million people now visit the catholic landmark every year — more than 30,000 every day on average — and it is believed to be the most visited structure in paris. although i'm sure the eiffel tower gives it a run for its money. the building has been undergoing restoration. in this photo from lastjune, you can see workers repairing the wooden roof. that wooden roof has gone today in this fire. and in recent days, workers had been removing statues for repairs. danny was talking about this. there had been some statues staved because they were removed in the last few
days. this again shows you the crippling stonework like this one of the reasons there had been an appeal last year for funds to help restore notre—dame meant to help maintain its stonework and things like these angels have now been returned to the roof after being restored, and u nfortu nately roof after being restored, and unfortunately they may well be damaged beyond repair. just one other thing to mention. it is believed this has gone to, the cathedral's famous rose windows. they would not have said a chance. this is emmanuel macron looking incredibly serious, incredibly upset, as you would imagine, coming to visit the situation earlier. remember, he was going to be giving a big policy speech earlier, in response to the yellow vest process. all of that will wait for another day. laura o'brien is a lecturer in french history at
northumbria university. she joins us from newcastle. thank you very much for your time. how would you place this cathedral within the context of french culture was —— french culture? -- french culture? ithink it is -- french culture? i think it is a symbol of the city of paris, the people of paris, because it is the hands of the people of paris that made this cathedral. notre—dame is, as we have been hearing, a cathedral made and remade over centuries, and we know it has been remade by skilled craftsmen, still restores right up until today when this tragic fire occurred. i think it is much more a religious building. it is much more than a tourist site. it is much more than a tourist site. it is the beating heart of paris. it is devastating to see that today. and the paris that it would have been built in back in the 12th and 13th century, this would have towered over almost anything else beside it. yeah, ithink
over almost anything else beside it. yeah, i think the city was very different really into the 1850s, 18605. different really into the 1850s, 1860s. we know notre—dame as this monument would sit alone, but really for most of its existence, it was surrounded on all sides and it towered over these streets, tiny buildings, really until the 19th century, when you have the remaking of paris under napoleon iii. this was a really poor area for much of the city's history. the first set of in paris. it was where they first settled. there are some really important archaeological material under notre—dame. it was a really important site and as you say, a central feature in the city. a rallying point for the city but also
it showed the power of the mediaeval church as well. has it always been loved ? church as well. has it always been loved? a building that sold tends to come in out of favour. famously, we know that in 1831, victor hugo, great 19th century writer, playwright, but what we would know better english as the hunchback of notre dame. in the 1830s, notre dame was not very well loved. it was falling down, it was decrepit, and the hugo novel was the story about as ramona —— esmeralda and quasimodo. parts of the novel talk about the layers of this building in the history within it. in the 1830s, it was not in a very good way and thatis it was not in a very good way and that is why we get the restorations which began in 1845, led by the
young architects done at architect leduc... it has fallen but i think since the 19th century, citizens have taken it to their heart. yes, the revolutionaries decapitated the kings of israel that were on the front of notre—dame, but even then, they never tried to destroy the cathedral. the paris can tell mike —— paris commune never touched notre—dame. they believe it is a parisian building more than anything else. based on what you just sentiment you would not be surprised, striking and moving, to hear the strength of emotion people are expressing for this building. friends in paris who have been in
touch during this evening and tonight, everyone is united injust being lost for words. it is more than... what has struck me, and obviously i am a french historian and this is a building i love and know well, but what has struck me as there are people all over the world devastated to lose this building. it is not... it is the beating part of paris but it is also one of the wonders of the world. for us to lose thatis wonders of the world. for us to lose that is absolutely tragic. we had very moving footage of people singing outside the cathedral, parisians singing outside the cathedral this evening. regardless of religious beliefs, their background, parisians have a special relationship with notre—dame and with the world. laura, you say as we have a is building him is this what you are assuming is going to happen? —— you say as we have lost this
building. too devastating to bring back was yellow —— bring back? building. too devastating to bring back was yellow -- bring back? my heart wanted to come back. notre—dame, i want to see it come back, i want to see a rebuild. if it is as devastating as it look, it is very worrying to hear the threat coming to the north tower. we know the roof is gone. structurally, i think i don't know. i am not an architectural expert but my hope is it can come back. the good news we have heard from the parisian archdiocese committee have called the alt —— the archdiocese, what they call the artwork has been saved. we don't know what that means. does that include the beautiful curved choir stalls in the cathedral? could they get those out? we don't know. as far as the diocese is concerned, they have saved is much as they can. laura, we
appreciate you. laura o'brien from northumbria university. while we are talking to laura, some updates. this also from reuters. the same interior minister we will monitor that. the assessments of where we have got to our ebbing and flowing a lot. some more positive, some more pessimistic. here is unesco... unesco already talking about getting this building back on its feet.
france 24 comedy 24 hour operation from the french, says it's... this is quoting... certainly we have heard that from the french people we have been speaking to. joining me now from paris is victor mallet. he is the paris bureau chief for the financial times. thank you so much for your time this evening. i understand you have been down to the get usual —— true the cathedral earlier. just reiterating what laura o'brien was saying, i met a woman in the liftjust now set i feel like i have been murdered because of the loss of this cathedral. the scene down there was pretty awful. the fire spread very quickly from the back of the cathedral and engulfed pretty much the whole roof of that famous spire,
collapsed in a sort of blazing explosion. and i very much doubt whether anything inside that's made of wood would have survived. i am not an architectural expert but i find it very hard to believe anything apart from the stonework will survive displays. it's so enormous. we have been watching the pictures and of course, we can see its scale in front of us, but i wonder what it was like being there. can you describe the size of it?|j was standing in front of the cathedral, and the fire started at the back. but even from the front where you've got those two famous towers in front of you, we could see the flames kind of surging out of the flames kind of surging out of the roof right behind those two towers, as it came forward. we were basically being pelted with bits of burning wood and cinders, and eventually we had to move back. the firemen at that point try to get in
the front of the cathedral, through the front of the cathedral, through the main front entrance, and there we re the main front entrance, and there were also a few... there was something like 400 firemen there at all trying to come at that point, rather feebly put out the blaze. it at this point looks like they have a better handle on things. at that point, they were really struggling to get their hoses to reach the roof on the cathedral. i can actually hear sirens in the background spoil your speaking me. yet her member this is —— you have to member this isa this is —— you have to member this is a sort of busy square. the week before easter. it is a very sort of peaceful but very lively scene. the smoke happened about 10—7 pm. —— ten to 7pm local time. it was quite
windy and that might have been part of the problem, and itjust spread dramatically. police and the firemen tried to evacuate the square, which they did pretty quickly and tried to put out the fire, but he really got a grip and the scene is really one of devastation and a lot of people, both visitors and residents of paris, are deeply afflicted by this. it really is one of the greatest cultural heritage sites of the world. victor, stay with us. we are getting updates all of the time. let mejust read getting updates all of the time. let me just read these updates out. we are being told by one official that there is one firefighter seriously injured during this notre—dame fire. we have number details than that. and this as well, same official... —— we have no more details than that. if that's the case, victor, a shift from what we are being told and hour ago when there was concern for the northern tower. what they're talking about is the stone structure the building. the stained—glass
windows, that is presumed to be destroyed or add risk. it looks like the stone parts of the building are there, but this will be a massive restoration project, and a lot of the 13th century and 19th century woodwork will honestly have to be com pletely woodwork will honestly have to be completely replaced because it will have been burned. the skill of the fire was really quite large. the fla mes fire was really quite large. the flames could be seen from all over paris and the smoke also. before i let you go, victor, this evening was supposed to be about politics and a big set—piece speech from emmanuel macron. we have the european elections a few weeks away, but i'm assuming something of this scale just puts a pause on everything. absolutely. macron, ithink, cancelled his speech he was due to give on politics in the future of
french politics. he cancelled it with about half an hour to go. this was very much a last—minute postponements and i'm sure he will come back to it in good time, but absolutely. everybody in france is thinking very much about this particular disaster. victor mckay q your time. particular disaster. victor mckay q yourtime. —— particular disaster. victor mckay q your time. —— victor, particular disaster. victor mckay q yourtime. —— victor, thank particular disaster. victor mckay q your time. —— victor, thank you for your time. —— victor, thank you for your time. —— victor, thank you for your time. victor is the paris bureau chief for the financial times. arguably the biggest moment of this fire was the collapse of one spire at the paris cathedral. any journalist shamus carney side happen. —— and the journalist seamus kearney saw the spire collapse. absolutely a sense of helplessness to be sitting in front of notre—dame, tens of thousands gathered along the seine, along the riverfront watching the fire and just absolutely the sense of people
saying where are the helicopters, where are the hoses, where the firefighters? the fire spread so quickly. i was there right from the very beginning. there was a lot of smoke at the very beginning. the fla mes smoke at the very beginning. the flames suddenly took off. we are now three hours after the fire began in those flames are still burning inside the structure. and the moment in the spire fell, that was an absolutely horrific... people around just gasping. absolute shock. people saying, where the firefighters? saw, after about an hour, a hose that was visible. it was spreading very quickly across the roof towards the two bell towers. and actually the fla mes two bell towers. and actually the flames did take hold in one of the bell towers, and luckily, we hope, they managed to reach those flames. just seeing a statement here from the archbishop of canterbury emma
justin welby, saying, today we pray for the firefighters —— the archbishop of canterbury, justin will be. we have also heard from angela merkel, saying it's with deep sadness i watch the invention paris. iamso sadness i watch the invention paris. i am so sorry to see these terrible images really those thoughts have been echoed in comments all around the world. this fire started, we believe, somewhere between 6—7 pm. in the evening french time. within minutes, smoke was visible and then flames, enormous flames licking up through the building and the fire began to spread. we began the programme, the french authorities we re programme, the french authorities were saying they were concerned for the overall structure of the building. in particularforthe northern tower. now they are saying they believe within three or four hours committee can get this fire under control. they hope the structure can be saved. let's hope they are right. speak to you soon.
bye— bye. has been completely engulfed by fire. the blaze started more than four hours ago. renovation work was being carried out to restore parts of the 850—year—old building. the roof has collapsed, the famous stained glass windows have been destroyed, fire crews are trying to save some of the priceless artwork from inside the cathedral. two hours after the fire broke out, the cathedral's spire suddenly collapsed prompting gasps from the crowds below. thousands have been standing, many in silence, watching in tears and dismay as this symbol of paris goes up in flames. it's the most beautiful monument in paris and it's been burning for an hour. it's just hideous.