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Notre Dame Flames

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Notre Dame Flames

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As of Monday, April 15th, widespread disbelief and horror rippled across Paris and throughout the world as the Notre Dame Cathedral, a historical landmark and religious symbol, burst into flames. The main spire, which was “made of 500 tons of wood and 250 tons of lead… [towering] at roughly 305 feet” (NBC News), collapsed, causing many to fear the worst – the complete destruction of a building that has existed since the year 1163 and its important relics inside: the tunic of St. Louis, the stained-glass windows, the crown of thorns, etc. However, although its spire and latticework roof (sometimes referred to as “The Forest”) both collapsed, the inferno did not damage as much as the public feared, and relics were almost entirely rescued – even the 16 statues that typically adorn the spire (which represent Jesus’s Apostles and the four evangelists) were taken off the roof a week before due to restoration efforts. In fact, some followers of faith have noted the sight of the collapsed roof laying on the floor of the cathedral with the golden crucifix and altar completely untouched as moving, or even miraculous.

However, while damage was not quite as devastating as anticipated, there are still repairs to be had. Luckily, due to the important European roots the Notre Dame Cathedral has, donations have been pledged – up to “about a billion dollars,” indicates a CBS journalist –, including the publishers for the infamous The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Victor Hugo.  Certainly, the Notre Dame will be restored as soon as possible.

Still, the question remains: Why? Officials do not have suspicions of terrorism or arson, which many had feared. Fox writer Barnini Chakraborty writes, “The French judicial police official, who spoke anonymously about the ongoing probe, said investigators still don’t have the go-ahead to search the rubble or work in the cathedral because of safety concerns.” Nevertheless, the 50 investigators on the case strongly suspect a short-circuit, possibly in the elevator leading towards the Forest. No matter the case, however, the Notre Dame Cathedral will certainly be restored – “even more beautifully” hopes Emmanuel Macron, President of France. Until then, the public can only wait with bated breath for a more concrete prognosis.

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