Inferno Extinguished, But Work Ahead For Charred Notre Dame

By WCBS Newsradio 880

PARIS (AP) — Firefighters declared success Tuesday morning in an over 12-hour battle to extinguish an inferno engulfing Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral that claimed its spire and roof, but spared its bell towers.

What remained was a blackened shell of the monument immortalized in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," a building that had survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated amid renovation works at the start of Catholic Easter week.

Its iconic twin bell towers remained visibly intact. Paris officials said the world famous 18th century organ that boasts 8,000 pipes also appeared to have survived, along with other treasures inside the cathedral, after a plan to safeguard heritage was quickly put into action.

At dawn, the twin 69-meter towers swarmed with building specialists and architects, looking tiny from the ground as they conducted analysis.