Famous French cathedral erupts into flames as onlookers share videos of smoke billowing into the sky

11 July 2024, 11:53 | Updated: 11 July 2024, 13:22

Images on social media show the cathedral on fire
Images on social media show the cathedral on fire. Picture: social media

By Henry Moore

The 1,000-year-old cathedral in the city of Rouen, France, is on fire with plumes of smoke billowing into the sky.

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Images on social media show the historic cathedral ablaze - from what appears to be scaffolding at the top of the church’s spire.

The cathedral is famed for its stunning spire as well as being painted multiple times by French impressionist painter Claude Monet in the 19th century.

"A fire has started on the spire of Rouen Cathedral. Origin unknown at this stage. All public resources are mobilised," the city's mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol wrote on X.

The Rouen cathedral has the tallest spire in France
The Rouen cathedral has the tallest spire in France. Picture: Getty

An emergency services spokesman said: "Fire engines are at the scene, and the cathedral has been evacuated."

The causes of today's fire remain unknown and the blaze is believed to be contained.

According to French broadcaster BFM TV, 63 firefighters, supported by 33 vehicles, have been mobilised to stop the horror blaze.

No injuries have been reported at this time and Dominique Lebrun, the Archbishop of Rouen, told reporters workers were "safe" despite inhaling smoke.

The Rouen Cathedral dates back to the 12th century.
The Rouen Cathedral dates back to the 12th century. Picture: Getty

The spire sits at 151 meters tall, making it the tallest in France and one of the highest standing in all of Europe.

Dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the most-visited tourist sites in France.

Building works were recently launched on the site, costing around 1.33 million euros (£1.12m), according to French newspaper Le Monde.

This comes after the legendary Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was destroyed by a devastating fire in April 2019.

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