World-famous Catholic cathedral Notre Dame burns amid renovations

Smoke+billows+as+fire+engulfs+the+spire+of+Notre+Dame+Cathedral+in+Paris%2C+France+April+15%2C+2019.+REUTERS%2FBenoit+Tessier+-+RC1AC7F22C50
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World-famous Catholic cathedral Notre Dame burns amid renovations

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RC1AC7F22C50

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RC1AC7F22C50

REUTERS

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RC1AC7F22C50

REUTERS

REUTERS

Smoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier - RC1AC7F22C50

Chris Johnson

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The world looked on in horror as the famed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire on Monday, April 16. The cathedral, for which construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345, is mostly comprised of 800-year-old timber, which helped the fire engulf the historic landmark.

Fire alarms were first triggered at 6:20 PM local time (12:20 PM Eastern); security officials evacuated the building, even though they did not see any evidence of a fire. At 6:43 (12:43 PM Eastern), smoke was spotted emanating from the cathedral, with flames following soon thereafter. Roughly an hour later, the spire collapsed. The roof collapsed not long after. The basic structure of the cathedral remains intact and has been declared structurally sound.

Of the numerous holy relics stored within Notre Dame, many were saved from the fire, including the Crown of Thorns and the Tunic of Saint Louis. Other the fate of other artifacts remain unknown as of writing, including one of the Holy Nails and a fragment of the True Cross.

French president Emmanuel Macron expressed his plan to rebuild Notre Dame within five years, a goal that is seen by some as unrealistic or challenging. As of writing, over $700 million have been raised to fund restoration efforts, which includes several donations of upwards of $100 million.

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