Fire breaks out in famous Gothic cathedral in Rouen, France

A fire broke out Thursday in the spire of the medieval cathedral in the northern French city of Rouen, but authorities said it was under control about 90 minutes later.

Witnesses speaking on BFM television described smoke emanating from the spire, and recalled a devastating fire in 2019 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that toppled its spire and collapsed its roof.

The magnificent Gothic cathedral in Rouen in Normandy is widely known from a series of paintings by impressionist Claude Monet.

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Mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol posted on the social media platform X that “the beginning of a fire is underway on the spire of the cathedral of Rouen.”

Stephane Gouezec, of the Seine-Maritime firefighters, later said the source of the fire had been located — in a spire that was under renovation — and crews were working to ensure there were no remaining “hot spots.” But he told reporters the risk of the flames spreading was low because the fire was in an area where there was mostly metal.

Gouezec said construction workers were the first to notice the fire and alerted authorities.

The cathedral had been evacuated and a security perimeter was in place, according to regional officials.

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, a major landmark, is scheduled to reopen in December after an unprecedented reconstruction effort. The cause of that fire was deemed an accident.

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