Days Before Notre-Dame Was Ravaged By Fire, A Twist Of Fate Saved 16 Of Its Most Precious Relics

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Image: BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images

On April 15, 2019, the world watched in horror as Notre-Dame de Paris burned. Smoke choked the air as flames swallowed parts of the cathedral’s roof and began to lick up the sides of its famous spire. And as emergency responders rushed to the scene, crowds thronged the streets of Paris to witness the historic building’s plight.

Image: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT/AFP/Getty Images

Then, as the fire spread, noxious clouds of yellow fumes poured into the atmosphere, while the centuries-old timber and lead of Notre-Dame’s roof continued to smolder and bubble in the heat. Yet the scaffolding that clung to the edifice’s upper level remained visible even through the discolored smoke – with its outline appearing in silhouette against the fiery blaze.

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Image: Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images

Meanwhile, the mass of onlookers who had clustered around Notre-Dame found themselves dusted by pieces of ash. Fiery embers also floated down, and these began to singe hair and irritate eyes. Ultimately, though, emergency workers pushed the cordons back, forcing the hordes present to retreat as flames continued to devour the cathedral.

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