As a catastrophic fire ripped through the roof of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral on Monday, Parisians and millions more across the world feared for the historic building and its priceless relics inside.
And while there was extensive damage, including the collapse of the cathedral’s spire, the two main towers remained intact as the fire began to subside.
The fire was brought under control by 400 firefighters, who have been hailed for their bravery as they removed the significant collection of artwork and holy objects inside the church.
The city’s mayor Anne Hidalgo said the firefighters had managed to form a “human chain” to retrieve the items, including Jesus Christ’s Crown of Thorns.
Mayor Hidalgo took to Twitter to thank emergency services, saying they created a “formidable human chain to save the works” inside the cathedral.
“The Crown of Thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place,” Ms Hidalgo said.
Many of the items were transported to the Paris City Hall, 500m northeast across the Seine.
Des pièces majeures du trésor de #NotreDame sont désormais en sécurité à l’Hôtel de Ville de Paris.
— Franck Riester (@franckriester) April 15, 2019
The thorns, encased in glass and gold tubing, were obtained from the Byzantine Empire in 1238, and brought to Paris by King Louis IX.
The tunic, another prized asset, dates back to the 13th century.
Mayor Hidalgo shared an image of several relics stored in a room in the wake of the fire.
French Minister for Culture Franck Riester thanked the City Hall’s staff for their efforts also.
Remarkably, only one of about 400 firefighters who battled the blaze was injured, officials said.
Paris fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet revealed the extent of the damage, saying two thirds of the roof “has been ravaged”.
Preliminary investigations suggest the fire was accidental with arson ruled out.
French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is “potentially linked” to a A$9.5million renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead.
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