The world watched in horror Monday as the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire. The centuries-old French monument was engulfed in flames for hours as more than 400 French firefighters battled the blaze tirelessly.
As a spiral fell and the roof caved in, people all over the world held their collective breathes, sent their condolences, and prayed that firefighters could stop the fire from ravaging the entire cathedral. According to the Washington Post, the fire was devastating:
"Cathedral spokesman Andre Finot told reporters that the building had sustained “colossal damage” and that the Medieval wooden interior — a marvel that has inspired awe and wonder for the millions who have visited over the centuries — had been gutted."
However, there is a silver lining. In what can only be described as a miracle, the main structure of the building was saved! In yet another silver lining, the fire broke out just after the cathedral had closed to tourists for the day. There were no deaths in the fire, though one firefighter sustained serious injuries.
The fire came during the holiest week of the year for Christians. The Cathedral is over 800 years old, and is a symbol for Christians and Parisians alike. Construction began in 1163, and it is the most visited monument in Paris, with more than 12 million people coming each year — that's nearly double the people who visit Eiffel Tower. French officials say the fire was the result of an accident relating to construction. The cathedral had been undergoing a renovation.