The Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris is reaching a critical point, and the next hour and a half will reportedly decide how much of the building can be saved.
First responders are doing everything in their power to put out the massive blaze at the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, at the moment, but the operation is nearing a critical point. According to a report by CNN, the next hour and half will be the "crucial" time to save what is left of the building so that it can be restored later on.
“There’s a risk that the great bell falls," said Paris Fire Brigade commander general Jean-Claude Gallet. "If the bell falls, it’s the tower that collapses. There are firefighters inside and outside. The next hour and a half will be crucial."
“We need to win this battle and block the spreading of the flames. The most efficient action is from the inside. We are not sure if we will be able to stop the spreading of the flames to the North Tower," he added.
Gallet went on to say that the first responders are doing what they can to salvage the treasures of the cathedral, but that their top priority is putting out the fire for the safety of the city.
“We are evacuating the most precious artwork that is being sheltered,” he said.
The commander general also told reporters that the first call they got about the fire warned that it was in the attic of the building. They still do not know the cause of the fire.
The fire began on Monday afternoon, and quickly drew a crowd of onlookers. It took over social media as well, as both amateurs and professional camera crews alike streamed the tragedy online. Different vantage points from the surrounding city blocks showed huge plumes of smoke billowing into the sky, and as the fire got worse flames could be seen licking up from the roof and illuminating the church.
The Notre Dame Cathedral is the most-visited monument in all of France, and is emblematic of the city of Paris. It reportedly gets about 30,000 visitors per day during tourist season, which explains why people around the world were devastated to see it burning on Monday. The cathedral is nearly 1,000 years old, dating back to the 12th century and representing France's unique blend of renaissance naturalist and gothic architecture.