Smoke billows from the spire of Rouen Cathedral in Rouen, northern France, on July 11, 2024. / Credit: PATRICK STREIFF/AFP via Getty Images

CNA Newsroom, Jul 11, 2024 / 10:10 am (CNA).

Firefighters extinguished a fire that broke out on Thursday on the spire of Rouen Cathedral, a historic Gothic church in northern France.

Rouen Mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol confirmed the incident on social media, sharing an image showing smoke rising from the cathedral’s spire.

According to LeMonde newspaper, 63 firefighters and 33 fire engines participated in the operation. Authorities announced they had “brought the fire under control” in just under two hours after an alert was issued at noon local time.

The cathedral was evacuated and a security perimeter established, local media reported July 11.

Citing information by the French Ministry of Culture, the newspaper Le Figaro said the fire was caused by “mishandling by workers.”

The part of the spire where the fire broke out was located about 120 meters (about 400 feet) above the ground and is currently undergoing renovation.

The incident recalled the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019. That blaze caused significant damage to the iconic structure, destroying its spire and much of its roof.

Rouen Cathedral, known for its tall spire and Gothic architecture, has historical and artistic significance. The structure in historic Normandy was famously depicted in a series of paintings by French impressionist Claude Monet in the late 19th century.

The fire in Rouen also occurs against a backdrop of concerns about the Catholic heritage of France. 

In 2021, Edouard de Lamaze, president of the Observatory of Religious Heritage in Paris, told CNA that one religious building is lost in France every two weeks due to various factors, including demolition, repurposing, or destruction.

Join Our Free Mailing List

You can unsubscribe at any time. For more detail see our Privacy Policy.