France's Rouen cathedral evacuated after spire catches fire

A fire broke out Thursday in the spire of the cathedral in the northern French city of Rouen, its mayor said, sharing a photo of a column of smoke rising from the Gothic landmark.

A famous Gothic cathedral in Rouen, Normandy, was evacuated on Thursday after its spire caught fire.

Images posted on social media platform X by the prefecture, show black smoke billowing from beneath a canopy and scaffolding at the top of the building, which is about 150m tall.

The fire's "origin is unknown at this point," mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol posted on X, adding that "all public resources are mobilised" to fight the fire.

Local fire service SDIS76 said the alarm was raised around midday and that 33 vehicles and 63 firefighters were on the scene.

Firefighters told French television channel BFM that the fire has since been contained.

"Fire broke out at the tip of the spire, which isn't made of wood, but rather metal," the prefecture of the local Seine-Maritime department told AFP.

The monument is "currently undergoing restoration work," it added.

Memories of Notre-Dame

A jewel of French medieval gothic architecture, the Our Lady of the Assumption cathedral dates to the 12th century and was repeatedly painted by the impressionist artist Claude Monet in the 19th century, lifting its worldwide fame.

Construction began on Rouen's cathedral in the 12th Century, according to its website, with work lasting several centuries until it achieved its present form.

(with AFP)

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