PARIS — A fire swept across the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral while the soaring Paris landmark was under renovations Monday, collapsing its spire and threatening one of the world’s greatest architectural treasures as locals and tourists watched aghast from the streets.
The French president pledged to rebuild a cathedral that he called “a part of us” and appealed for help to do so. The 12th-century church is home to relics, stained glass and other incalculable works of art and is a leading tourist attraction, immortalized by Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”
The Paris prosecutor’s office said it was treating the fire as an accident, ruling out arson and possible terror-related motives, at least for now. French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire was “potentially linked” to a 6 million euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the spire and its 500 tons of wood and 250 tons of lead.