Fire: Tower of French Cathedral in Flames

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jul.11 - 2024 1:52 PM CET

Photo: Frontieresmedia on X
Photo: Frontieresmedia on X
A fire has broken out in the spire of the Gothic cathedral.

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A plume of smoke was seen rising from the spire of the Gothic cathedral in Rouen, Normandy, as renovation work was underway.

The current scene in Rouen is evoking memories of the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris back in 2019, as a fire has broken out in the central tower of the Gothic cathedral in Rouen.

Initial images from BFM television showed a dark plume of smoke rising from the spire, with onlookers in the streets below reacting in horror.

Later images showed smoke still visible through a gap in the white cover encircling the scaffolding, though it was no longer as dark.

The Rouen cathedral, a jewel of French medieval Gothic architecture, dates back to the 12th century.

Its fame was elevated worldwide by the Impressionist artist Claude Monet, who repeatedly painted the cathedral in the 19th century.

This incident is reminiscent of the devastating fire in the wooden frame of Notre Dame’s roof in Paris in 2019, which caused considerable damage to the historic monument. Repairs on Notre Dame are only now nearing completion.

Similarly, in April, a fire engulfed Copenhagen’s Old Stock Exchange, toppling its spire and causing large parts of the outer walls to collapse.

Current Situation

The spire of the Rouen cathedral had been surrounded by scaffolding and a white cover for several weeks due to ongoing renovations.

The local prefecture, which exercises authority in the region, stated that the cathedral had been evacuated and emergency services were on the scene. A security cordon was established around the building.

There have been no reports of casualties, and the extent of the damage remains unclear.

Rouen’s mayor, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, posted on X: “The beginning of a fire is underway on the spire of the cathedral of Rouen. The origin is unknown at this stage. All public resources are mobilized.”