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tv   The Daily Briefing With Dana Perino  FOX News  April 15, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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impossible. we, like you, are waiting to see what the response the authorities will take. shep? >> shepard: benjamin hall watching as we continue to monitor the fire that is under way now at the cathedral at notre dame. 11:00 a.m. on the west coast, 2 p.m. on the east coast and 8 p.m. in the city of lights where notre dame cathedral appears to be burning and is completely engulfed in flames. we're 42 minutes from sunset in paris. at that point the city of lights will go dark and notre dame, it would appear, will continue to burn. at this hour, firefighters have been unable to get water or other fire retardants to the main parts of the fire, which benjamin hall just mentioned began in a construction zone in the rear of this iconic building. and was noticeable only for a bit of smoke that was emanating
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from it. now, some 2.5 hours later, much of the upper portions of notre dame have been completely engulfed in flames. from the pictures that i'm seeing what you're seeing and have very little information beyond what one can get from our news agencies and witnesses on scene. but, a large part of notre dame appears to be gone. now on your screen is a tweet from the president, which we read in the last hour. there it is. that is a statement which goes without saying. president said so hard to watch this massive fire at notre dame in paris. perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. must act quickly. that from the president of the united states said.
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it is a sinkening feeling. if there is any saving this building, you have to wonder now how in the world it could happen. the meaning of notre dame is our lady of paris known as -- it's roughly 24 -- 2400 feet high, this spire atop it, a catholic cathedral in the city of paris. and the spire that so many of us have looked upon for years and years. if we look for the view in the 103 now, the direct, you will be able to see the spire at the top of notre dame is no more. ben hall has been watching with us. truly at a loss for words.
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impossible to imagine that this is happening before our eyes. in the 1790s it suffered desecration during the french revolution was damaged and destroyed. and then on and on and upgrades and upgrades. we talked about what it must take to maintain this enormous facility that's been around hundreds and hundreds of years before anyone even came to americas, beyond the indigenous
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people of our land. now to watch it burn is a sight of unimaginable horror. ben hall watching with us. ben, have we gotten any word from french authorities about whether they'll be able to get some sort of fire retardant up on this structure? >> reporter: nothing at this point from the fire authorities. nothing at all. again, we're just hearing from the police who have been asking anyone in the area to stay well clear so they can get access to it. we haven't seen that access taking place. you talk about the history. you think of the war this has survived. you see the marks from the bullets when the city of paris was occupied by the nazis. it survived all of this. if it were to brought down because of a fire caused by renovation, big questions to be asked. those questions should be asked on another day. the questions now is what can be done to save what's left of
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notre dame? that main spire has come down. when it was built, it was a marvel. it is held up on butresses on either side. if they come down, and i think you see three or four on either side which come right down, almost like spider's webs. if those were to collapse, the entire thing would come down. it was a gem when it was built. that's what's going to have to be taken care of first. they had anticipated fires a long time ago. there is a water reservoir up there between the two main towers. it doesn't seem that they have been able to get access to that. we've been told boats are soming down the seine. we're not seeing that. this moment, the city of paris just looking on in shock and
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helpless to do anything. their great symbol, the symbol of europe, at this time as well, easter holiday, when this place would have been crowded. not just with tourists, but worshippers coming to this catholic church. it is a very sad day. seeing that spire come down will resonate not only across france, but across the world. we are waiting for more answers. we're waiting to learn what exactly is being done here. but these images really, shep, just -- they say everything. as you say, some said when that happened, i think all that was seen over the city of paris is this glowing, burning fire. shep? >> shepard: so many of you who are regular viewers of fox news channel and subscribe to our updates via your phones just received an unimaginable alert as i did. it says breaking news from fox
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news. notre dame's cathedral's roof and central spire collapse amid massive fire. we've just gotten video in which is in vat4 in our control room, and that is of that spire from a ground camera, completely engulfed in flames. as you might imagine, we have hundreds of different feeds which come into our main headquarters in new york. one after another after another with different views on this spire, watching as the flames began to lap around its base and then just lick up the outside of it until eventually it was engulfed. now live pictures indicate to us that there is certainly no saving it. the spire atop the cathedral is gone. nothing remains but the frame there of, of a building which
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has stood for 870 years. reading from the bbc, the cause was not immediately clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work, as we've been reporting here for the better part of the last half hour. images on social media show plumes of smoke billowing into the air above the 800 plus-year-old catholic building. the catholic church and french launched an urgent appeal for funds for the cathedral, which was starting to crumble. a operation is under way to stop the blaze. areas in central paris have been cleared according to local officials there in the city of lights. the french president macron has cancelled his planned speech to the nation, which was scheduled for right about now in light of this fire, which has engulfed the giant spire of the cathedral, a spokesman for the palace said.
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emmanual macron's address to the nation tonight was to be a tape recorded address which had already been put together and was ready for broadcast. so they won't be showing this. no doubt, there is no other subject at the moment across paris, france, and largely across all of europe. the mayor of paris described it as a terrible fire and urged people at the scenes to respect the boundaries set by the fire crews in order to ensure that they remain safe. the u.s. president trump suggested that maybe flying in water tanks could be used to extinguish the fire. notre dame cathedral, which is visited by millions of people each year, is under going renovations after cracks began to appear in the stone sparking fears that the structure would become unstable. at this point, they are well beyond that. we now know, it would appear,
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that notre dame is burning to the ground. the fire brigade is working to begin the process of working it out. we wonder if anything will be left of notre dame. good afternoon from fox news, i'm shepard smith. now on fox television stations which are joining us across america. the scenes which you are seeing on your screen now reverberating across the united states, paris, france, around the world. notre dame is burning to the ground. the famed cathedral in the heart of paris began with a small fire, we believe, in a construction area in the rear of the facility just about 2:40 ago. for reasons which we do not yet know, that fire spread and did so quickly. eventually engulfed the upper parts of notre dame. then we watched the spire atop
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it completely engulfed in flames before it was burned beyond recognition. the upper floors of notre dame have largely been charred and reduced to nothing more than the stilts along the frame. and whatever was inside the treasures of france up in smoke along with this grand cathedral that was built more than 850 years ago today. for context, benjamin haddid works in the french consulate in dc. french media is reporting people crying in the streets and the government is launching an emergency plan to try to save the artwork in the church. we're looking for translation sources. the arrow on the top has collapsed, meaning the spire on the top. a terrible day for the history
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of our country reports the main french tv anchor. france, profoundly attached to its history and symbol, but not so religious as others in the region. now a very close up shot from 103 in the direct feed, which we've been watching here. and in it we can see people have made their way up to the top in what appears to be construction material, wearing hard hats and the rest. maybe an attempt to save something though we don't know. the cathedral has survived everything. it's close to 900 years old. an object of literature, master pieces. nazis couldn't destroy it. it is a symbol of france beyond political regimes or religions. that from benjamin haddid, a french man who works at the atlantic council in washington.
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new video just into fox news channel. this will be that iconic spire collapsing before our very eyes. this taken from the ground. unimaginable. there is no place that more embodies paris and france, for that matter. you could argue the arc di triumph and the rest of the scenes there pale in comparison to notre dame and anyone who ever visited it must have the same punch to the gut feeling that we all have here this afternoon.
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france 24 reporter on the ground says police have asked people to stay away from the area, but it's apparently not working because hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of parisians are now packing the area around the cathedral. so as the word has gone out, please leave the area. parisians are coming in mass. the mayor has just tweeted a terrible fire under way at notre dame cathedral in paris. the fire department is trying to control the flames. we are mobilizing on the spot in close connection with the diocese of paris, the catholic church. the mayor says, i invite everyone to respect the security or perimeter. there are around 13 million people who visit notre dame every single year. think of that. 13 million. which means this is an average of 30,000 people per day. and grows to 50,000 pilgrims and
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visitors who enter the cathedral on peak days. as no doubt yesterday was, on palm sunday, the last palm sunday for the cathedral at notre dame, at least as we do it prior to today. with easter sunday approaching, a horror beyond imagination. virtually everyone has heard of this cathedral, especially since the hunch back of notre dame novel was produced by victor hugo. and yet there are so many residents to visit the famous monument in paris, which is one of the oldest buildings in the city of lights that was still standing until today. to start with, crown of thorns among the other rel iirelics is. there is the first friday of each month for believers. there are at least five services or masses conducted every single day, and more than 2,000
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celebrations at the notre dame cathedral every year. the cathedral of notre dame is often referred to as the forest because of the many wooden beams that have been used in its construction. we've been watching as those wooden beams have been reduced to rubble on this fateful evening in paris. technically, the arches required sharply sloped roofs and the roof are at a 55-degree incline during the 11th and 12th centuries church roofs were covered with flat tiles that came in from clay deposits so that peak of the roof at 65 degree angle, the flames just came right up it. we've been watching that throughout the early evening now in france. a witness who saw this fire start is now on the phone with us. his name is mike wallen, and he witnessed it from the beginning. mike, tell us what you saw or what you know about the
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beginning. >> we saw the flames come up from the cathedral. just after it started, we saw the smoke first begin. it quickly got down to the area. sorry, i'm crossing a street. there was a little bit of a panic as it started to happen. we just saw smoke start to billow up from the cathedral. >> france 24, stay with us, which is a 24-hour news service, much like this one, but in france, has just reported the entire roof has collapsed and there is still intense amount of smoke from across the river. it's choking journalists on scene. do you have a view of this now? can you tell us -- it appears they are now getting water on this structure. what are you seeing? >> they are. we're actually several blocks beyond that now, shepard. if you believe this, we are seeing the smoke lighting, the
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amount of smoke has reduced in the lastminutes. it's not as thick and it's not as black as it was. we are actually moving away from it, just out of sheer concern. >> shepard: from the pictures we're seeing, it looks like the entire upper part of the structure is gone. >> all i can tell you that when we saw it when it was on fire, there was no question they were gonna lose some of that. >> shepard: mike, were you in the area -- so that our viewers know, mike is the father of one of our staffers here at fox news channel. were you there as a tourist, just visiting notre dame as anyone would? >> we were just across from notre dame. i wasn't there. i wasn't at the cathedral. we were just across the water from the cathedral. i'm here with my wife for dinner, yes.
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>> shepard: and was there commotion? can you describe what was happening around you, as people began to realize what was happening here? >> it's a bit surreal, but disbelief at first. we happened to be coming from district 11 when we walked down there for dinner. there was a march, small protest of some kind, not certain what it was. but there was a bet that this wasn't really happening. that this couldn't be happening. and then all of a sudden it was just panic. we can still see -- i'm looking at it right now. i can still see helicopters in the air circling. sorry for the noise. i can still see helicopters circling in the air. there was quite a bit of panic as it happened. people started moving away from the scene. >> shepard: mike, it's our understanding that this fire began, give or take, somewhere around 6 p.m. this evening paris time. >> that's absolutely correct.
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absolutely correct. >> shepard: that's two hours and 20 minutes ago and this is the first water we're seeing on it. not to be a critic from thousands of miles away, but it is just unimaginable. >> not easy to get to, shep. it happened at rush hour. and so while this is a heavily commuted city by subway, it still is difficult to get to, especially being on the island. >> shepard: we've gotten reports from french news agency and people on the ground of just, of people sobbing and coming by the thousands to this place. can you confirm that? that people are coming toward it, not going away from it? >> welsh absolutely. it's a bit of disbelief. there are a lot of people going ab their day, moving away from it. we're the day after palm sunday.
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it was a scene. there were a lot of people here who are in absolute anguish. >> shepard: did you happen to be in the area yesterday, on palm sunday? it's been my understanding and to some degree experience that around the catholic holidays, the crowds there are just shoulder to shoulder. >> i got here last night. we saw the crowd in london yesterday on palm sunday, but i only got here last night. i didn't see it. the crowd during the day today as we came down, the crowd moving in that direction was very strong and very large. but i can't confirm that there was a big crowd at the cathedral at the time. >> shepard: mike, i can't thank you enough for calling in. please be in touch. our producers will be back in touch with you from time to time. >> thank you very much. >> shepard: father of my floor
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producer alexis who is watching this. just in moments ago, the latest on the fire at notre dame cathedral. the soaring spire of notre dame in paris collapsed in flames. a church smokes man said the entire wooden interior of the land mark is burning and likely to be destroyed. a spokesman for the catholic church says the entire wooden interior of notre dame is burning and is likely to be destroyed. a massive fire engulfed the roof of the cathedral in the heart of the french capital on monday afternoon, as parisians watched in horror. the notre dame spokesman told french media, quote, everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame. the cathedral is home to
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incalulable works of art and is one of the most famous tourist at tractions in the world. cause is unknown, but scaffolding could be seen on the roof of the burning structure. the spire itself was under going renovation. new and just in, the prime minister is now on scene. and the president macron is on the way. france 24 reporter on the ground says more fire trucks have been arriving and are now clearly shooting water on to the cathedral, but the flames are of a size and heat of the temperature that you wonder if some 2.5 hours after the fire began, what they will be able to salvage. the deputy mayor of paris has just described colossal damage, and that's a quote. after confirming the collapse of the cathedral's spire, the deputy mayor said that the spire collapsed inward and that the
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workers are still scrambling, quote, to save all the artworks that can be saved. in other words, the spire of the cathedral at notre dame in flames, collapsed into the cathedral itself. reporter live on scene now. let's listen. >> reporter: -- of that fire and what it has burned through and what is left. scaffolding you can see to your right just besides the trees there. firefighters on some kind of safe place. balconies, huge building, of course. one of the balconies there. one imagines trying to get some kind of vantage point, some kind of position where they can continue to douse those flames. behind them, i'm no expert. we can judge for ourselves, what was combustible seems to have more or less burned. you can see the flickering embers there of the fire on that
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lattice work of timber, one presumes, that has been burned through. that a very dangerous position, i would imagine. the heat still around there. the possibility of a collapse. there are reports that parts of the roof have collapsed as well. there a live shot. now, we are -- i hesitate to make this assessment myself, but some sense that perhaps there is a little less in the way of flames than we saw perhaps half an hour, hour or so ago. maybe that might be because it's burned everything is combustible. you can still see that lattice work of scaffolding, giving you a sense of just how large the restorations are. scaffolding still standing around the external areas, though it seems to have burned there in the middle section.
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what one could imagine would be the intensity of the flames. to the left of the picture there, you can see one of the water hoses trying to dampen down the fire there. i'm hesitating to say that this seems to be under control. but certainly it looks as if the flames have diminished from a half hour ago. you can all see stained glass windows there, to the front of that picture seems to have disappeared, being burned, incinerated in those flames. those two square towers still standing. this, as the shot widens there for you, giving you a sense of what has gone in between the roof has collapsed. let's just stay on that. we'll try to get somebody from paris to tell us more about that operation that we would imagine
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firefighters are taking part in. i want to talk to -- >> shepard: here in new york now on fox news channel and fox television station around the world, we're also monitoring this network france 24, which has a reporter on the ground and just said that the crowds are just staring at the cathedral in disbelief, saying things like, this can't be happening, i can't watch. the reporter says that she's seen elderly people being wheeled out in wheelchairs to witness the fire as it happens. a french elected official who is in paris is on the line with us. felipe, what have you seen and what do you know? >> well, i was close to the scene when it happened. i left because we want to let people work around it. everybody's really under shock now in france. i would tell you something. even if nobody died, it's like a
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9/11, a french 9/11. it's a big shock. this church was there for more than 850 years. you need to know that for the past years, we've had churches desecrated each and every week all over france. of course, you will hear the story of the politically -- the political correctness which will tell you it's probably an accident. >> shepard: sir, sir, sir, we're not going to speculate of the cause of something that we don't know. if you have observations or you know something, we would love to hear it. >> i'm just telling you something, what we need to be ready. >> shepard: no, sir, we're not doing that here, not now, not on my watch. philippe karsenty, very good for
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you to be here. we're watching at least the partial destruction of a world icon, notre dame cathedral has been burning for 2.5 hours. the initial reports we got were that the fire started in a construction zone in the rear. we are thousands of miles away. the man on the phone with us has absolutely no information of any kind about the origin of this fire and neither do i. and the fire investigators will at some point come to a determination about what caused this and conspiracy theories about anything are worthless and in many cases counter productive and injurious to society. those who entertain them are not acting in the best interests of the people of this planet. it appears from this live view, which is coming to us from
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france 24, 24-hour news agency. from these live picture, the flames have certainly diminished and have largely been tamped down, at least to the best of our view. this is -- these are pictures from the rear. this is from -- on the left is from the front. if you were to walk by. if you've taken a picture in front of notre dame, the one on the left is likely the view that you had. the one on the right in this split screen which you're looking at, the one in the right is the rear of the same building. you can see the scaffolding along the top there. that's where the french realized that there were cracks in the building and they began a multieuro plan to try to restore it. scaffolding has gone up around notre dame over time. a construction project was under way. the initial reporting we were seeing from french news began i
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this building in generally speaking the area where the construction was under way. beyond that, i can give you this. no injuries have been reported at this stage from the notre dame cathedral fire. authorities are still examining the cause according to what we would call assistant interior minister, though there they would say junior interior minister. the reporting on cause is probably something for another day. the great news is nobody was injured. we know that there was a long period of time, more than two hours, or close to two hours, between the time when the initial small fire was reported and the period where flames began billowing from the cathedral. so the hope is, who ever was there, construction workers and
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the like, started just before 6 p.m. paris time. so it's possible, given what we know about paris, that construction crews might have already been away by then. but the great news is nobody was injured in this period. what we don't know is how many priceless artifacts have been lost. we don't have a way of knowing that. we don't have a way of knowing what the condition is of the central part of notre dame, the areas where, should you have visited, you would have been taken through. we don't know the condition of those areas. but we do know from french authorities that they were moving in and moving in quickly to try to save some of the priceless masterpieces which were and presumably in some cases are contained within. let's turn to vivian walt, who is a freelance journalist in france now. vivian, what can you tell me about what you've seen and what you know?
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>> president macron has just arrived on the scene a few minutes ago. there are, as you can see on the screen, finally some serious fire fighting going on. the mystery, really, has been, why during the early stage of the fire, as it appeared to spread, there had not been water being sprayed on it. we heard a lot of fire trucks go by. sirens going for hours. but very little water and not from the air either. i imagine this is going to be quite an investigation and, as you say, for another day, as to what happened and what the readiness was. i can tell you, maybe 18 months ago from "time" magazine, i
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covered notre dam what's terrible, at that point they did not have the money to repair it. they were putting very, very deep funds into repairing it. they were trying to raise money. trying to raise money in the u.s. they were trying to raise money among the french people. >> shepard: my understanding for the reason of that, they were reaching out largely to catholics. we both know and understand that france is a much more secular nation and that catholics in the united states, it's my understanding, were donating to this cause, is that correct?
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>> exactly. there are very strict rules in this country. trying to fund the restoration was like back in the 1930s, hunchback of notre dame you would have thought. 200 year, 250 years gone. sorry, 200 years gone. there are very strict laws about notre dame, gets 2 million euros a year, that's about $2.18 million to maintain the church every year. this is a church that gets millions of visitors a year, 30,000 visitors a day.
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money just to keep it clean and basically dust the place. no real maintenance that this jewel required. this is truly a tragedy for this country. >> shepard: vivienne, i'm sure many are surprised to hear this. notre dame is the catholic symbol, a catholic cathedral, so many of us from across the pond who visit and marvel in its grandeur, realize it's a symbol of paris. one of the greatest symbols and most beautiful works of architexture in would be consi almost exclusively a religious building really seems to escape the truth that it is, it is to paris what the arc di triumphe
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and other land marks are. it is something we think of when we think of the beautiful city of lights and to see what's happened to it today, it's unimaginable. >> i have to say that, you know, when i was an official from the ministry of notre dame, there were thousands of monuments. notre dame is another one. i'm not sure how people would feel about that statement being made by me tonight. >> shepard: we know this -- this restoration project -- i remember the scaffolding has been going up for almost two years, hasn't it? >> well, yes.
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i have to say, you know, in the summer of 2017, they were kind of desperate, they were on a fund-raising campaign around the u.s. the catholic communities were going to be the biggest source of income because everybody knows it, notre dame. they did raise money, in france and much in the u.s. and they had to fund the construction projects, it might turn out, we don't know. just might turn out the very cause of the terrible fire was, in fact, the scaffolding around this construction. >> shepard: vivienne walt on the line, a free lance journalist in
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paris, watching in horror with us. the latest dispatch we're getting from around the facility, the center -- quoting from andy scott, who's on scene. the center of paris has come to a standstill. people looking toward the building in shock and amazement. ash is falling out of the sky. sirens are blaring all around. it's an impressive, but terrible sight. and now associated press ash mixed with water from fire hoses is choking the atmosphere in and around notre dame. would have absolutely no concept personally of what they were talking about, except for the after math of the attacks of 9/11 when the twin towers collapsed and the ash mixed with water and the rest began to fall from the sky on thousands of new yorkers on september 11th, on that fateful day.
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for that reference and that reference only, just an almost unimaginable thought. the good news, quoting now, charli james. the flames are more under control. bad news is the center is still much ablaze. but it appears to be contained to the center, the very center of the cathedral of notre dame appears to be what is burning. the sunset happens officially four minutes from now. sunset tonight in paris, if i'm not mistaken -- no, 7:58 p.m. so we're 18 minutes from sundown. if you noticed just then, the change in the picture on your screen. looks like it went from a dark to a bit brighter in a matter of one second. that most likely is the changing of the setting on the camera, which allows more light to come in as the sun sets in the
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distance. so now the two sights you are seeing are bothed on the back end of the cathedral looking -- on the right-hand side of your screen looking through and to the center, the iconic front there. and then on the left-hand side of your screen, wire being -- water being put on the back of it from a different direction. more dispatch is just coming in from in and around the scene. this from reuter. the island on which notre dame cathedral is situated is in the process of being evacuated. the scene, as it's been described to us, as is follows. somewhere around 6 p.m., little before, in the evening it would appear, on the monday after palm sunday, in the middle of holy week, a small fire is said to have started in a construction area on the rear of notre dame. and that fire, for reasons which we do not have answers, began to
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spread. and it spread to the roof of notre dame and then to the spire of notre dame and then the entire upper level of notre dame was engulfed in flames. according to witnesses on scene, that old wooden structure, more than 800 years old, has now collapsed. the mayor of london weighing in. heartbreaking scenes of notre dame cathedral in flames. london stands in sorrow with paris today. and in friendship always. and people around the world, religious, secular and otherwise, stand with them, without any question. if you've ever been fortunate enough to visit this spectacular city and to see this marvel of a building, you no doubt feel the same. trace gallagher is with us and looking on. trace, it's just -- words
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escape. >> reporter: it's heart wrenching, shep. you listen to people on the scene there and the information we're gathering, it appears the wooden structure of the cathedral is, for all intents and purposes, is going to be a total loss. the question is now is the vault of the ettafice. now dig down deeper, how much of the heritage will they lose? how much of the artifacts will they lose? on top of the art work you have the bell, the famous bell, which we remember back in 2015 after the paris attacks tolled for all the victims of those attacks. the bell is now automated. but that in itself is a classic piece of heritage. and in the vaults and below this cathedral, shep, there is a drawing, the plan, the engravings which show the old city of paris, the old hidden mysteries of the cathedral, a cathedral and how it was built
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and over the 150, 160 years it took to build this thing, the documents, the architecture. those are the things that are priceless. the question becomes, were those things affected? i want to read a tweet from the archbishop of new york. he said, i just went next door to our beloved st. patrick's to ask the intersection of notre dame for the cathedral of the heart of paris and its civilization now in flame, god preserve this splendid house of prayer and protect those battling the flames. the cardinal brings up a great point. it is a point of pride to say that you have gone to st. patrick's cathedral in new york and watched the cardinal celebrate mass and have gone to the church of the nativity in bethleh bethlehem, the site where jesus was said to be born and watched the celebration of the mass. go to the vatican, st. peters
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basillica and watch the celebration of the mass. for catholics around the world, this, it's awful for everybody, but for catholics around the world, this is devastating because it is symbolism that is now going up in flames. 800 years. you think back just a couple hundred years ago, shep, and the cathedral, the notre dame cathedral was in such disrepair, there were considerations of just bringing it down at that point in time. you had napoleon bonapart, he's the one that started to revitalize the cathedral and made sure it stood strong, as strong as it was up until the early hours of today. you mentioned there was some good news about no injuries in this. there was a bit of other good news we uncovered. because of the construction that was going on at the time, they had taken away 16 statues. they were on hook from the spire. these are copper statues that
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date back hundreds and hundreds of years. these two were invaluable. but because the work was going on on the spire, the 16 copper statues were taken away so they were salvaged. they were not involved in the fire. and just a point on the fire fighting, a lot of points have been brought up about why was the effort so late? we saw some firefighters the early going up there and they just didn't have a lot of tools at their behest. there was a reason you think, well, they were trying to protect the outer layers or the other buildings around the cathedral. you bring up president trump's tweet where he said, why don't you just bring in one of the helicopters or the air tankers? as a guy who's covered a lot of firefighter, helicopters would be more effective, but there's not enough water really to do the job. as far as the air tankers go, that's not really an exact science. so that water could be dropped in the vicinity. the problem is, you risk doing
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other damage to other buildings around them because of that heavy water drop. so it is -- not a slam to the firefighters. who knows how long it took them to get on scene. we don't know the internal workings of how this was done. it has taken a while for them to get there. again, when they got there, it was about mobilizing or protecting the other buildings or was it about trying to save what they could of the structure? so, we will find out in the days and hours to come. but for catholics and everybody, but for catholics, the symbolism, this is a heart wrenching day around the world. >> shepard: there's no doubt. trace gallagher, thank you very much. we've been monitoring very closely fire and police investigators out of paris. no official of any kind has given us any information about a cause or the origin of the fire.
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the official report at this moment is they believe, and that's a quote, we believe the fire began in an area under construction in the rear of the cathedral. that is the extent of the official reporting on the cause of this. that said, there have been a number of attacks on catholic churches in the paris area. but those two things, we are not connecting at this moment. we have no reporting of any kind to suggest that there was an attack here. none. if that changes, we will change our reporting. but there is no official information. there are no witnesses. there was no one with a description that we know of to say how this fire began. as a result, we're not going to talk about things about which we have no knowledge that are of such substance and import. when we have something, we'll let you know.
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let's turn to stacy mitrick, paris bureau chief for our corporate cousins at "the wall street journal." stacy, what have you seen and what do you know? >> well, there have been plumes of smoke rising across the skyline for the past couple of hours here. the -- if you look at the location of the fire being adjacent to this massive scaffolding which was built around a section of the roof, that's probably why police sources are saying that, you know, the location of the fire suggests that it's connected to the renovations that were under way. to your point on, you know, whether or not there's some sort of terrorism link, you know, no one's suggesting that at the moment. what i can tell you is that, for months basically, since the paris attacks of 2015, notre dame has been -- there's been a security perimeter around it.
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bags are routinely checked. not only going into the cathedral, but even entering the square in front of notre dame. usually the area is the focus of intense security. >> shepard: and yesterday, stacy, palm sunday, historically, that would have been a day when even getting to notre dame would be matter of great difficulty. >> yes, exactly. we're talking lines out the door. there's usually two sections of lines, one going out the door and then a massive line that starts at the security perimeter and then will snake through the streets on a major feast day like palm sunday. >> shepard: you have access to more local reporting than we do. i wonder if, stacy, you've been able to get a sense for where the worst of the damage is at this moment? >> well, i mean, obviously, you can tell from the images that -- >> shepard: appears to be right
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in the center. >> the roof has collapsed. there are reports that a bell has fallen. it's not really clear which bell they're talking about. so the damage is significant. and if you're in the city hall, just across the seine from notre dame, for anyone who has ever visited paris, there are hundreds of people gathered there right now watching this wonderful cathedral burn, piece by piece. >> shepard: stacy, paris bureau chief for "the wall street journal." "wall street journal" and fox news share common ownership. the front of notre dame, the ettiface appears to be completely intact and largely untouched. >> yes. and if you can tell the fire crews seem to be turning the
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around around the blaze in an effort to try to contain it. so for the time being, the facade, it is intact. obviously, it's stone walls and so it's not made of the same sort of flammable materials that affected the roof and the ceiling structure. >> shepard: the rest of this structure, from reading quickly, is apparently almost entirely of wood, stacy. >> yeah. i mean, it's not just -- it's not just the ceiling, but obviously that massive scaffolding that's on top of it. it's really just a tinned -- tinder box. >> shepard: stacy, has there been any reporting yet on the delay of what was officially described as a small fire with a small amount of smoke, the delay in getting the fire brigades there over that two-hour period? >> no. >> shepard: i figure it's intense in the afternoon rush in paris. >> yeah. and it really did break out around the time of rush hour.
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so, you know, the sound of sirens wouldn't be abnormal at that time of day. it's unclear what took fire crews so long to respond or why there isn't some sort of aerial response. >> shepard: well, we now know that, stacy, the french civil security has just sent out notice that the air drop by helicopter on this type of building could indeed lead to the collapse of the entire structure. and the side of the building currently under going, doing what they can to save it. in other words, the suggestions of an air drop were considered and abandoned for that reason, the weigh of the water. >> yeah. well, the weight of the water, but all just dumpings massive amounts of water on a site that's as sensitive as notre dame, you could end up causing as much damage with that sort of
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innundation. >> shepard: do you have a sense of if they have been able to clear people away from this area? >> the perimeter of the church has been sealed off. the crowds that i can see are across the seine. >> shepard: stacy meitrich is on the line with us. all the best to you and yours. >> thank you, shep. >> shepard: continuing to watch now, as nightfall has landed on paris this evening. we're four minutes away from sunset officially. and the biggest light you see is from the flames of notre dame. you can see inside where the scaffolding is, that structure on the left-hand side of your screen is metal scaffolding. and inside it was a completely
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wooden structure, which is largely gone. and then as you move back, if you've been in this building, it stretches for what would be -- i would call it an avenue block as a new yorker. stretches the length of a new york city avenue from one avenue to another along a street. hundreds of yards long. and all of it appears to be in flames. in the early going, authority, catholic church and others, were saying that they were attempting to save what they could from inside the structure. priceless artifacts within. and were doing whatever they could to get in and try to accomplish that. but going into a building that is burning is a difficult and high order and whether they were able to get in and save anything is really reporting for another hour. the flames, though they began in
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a contained area, as it was described to us in the early going, began in the area in the rear of notre dame where this construction project was under way. again, it was a restoration project. more than three years ago, they noticed cracks in the facade and wanted to begin this restoration process. but if you've been with us for the last hour or so, you know that the government and the church don't work together closely at all. france is a very secular nation, and the separation of church and state is real there. and the state has not been contributing to the facility. and the catholic church provides the money for the upkeep of this facility, which welcomes some 30,000 people on average and as many as 50,000 during holy periods, like the one we're in
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right now, 50,000 people a day, some 13 million per year. and the funding for restoration and upkeep is largely provided by the catholic church. the french state doesn't really participate in that. so this was a private project from which they were accepting dounations around the world. if you're catholic, your local diocese might have contributed. but there was an active campaign to raise money for this restoration project. has been at least since the spring of 2017. that's how far i know it goes. at least to that point they've been raising money. these are live pictures. and the earlier report that the fire appeared to be dying down, apparently were not as accurate as we had all hoped. as the center of notre dame is towering, the flames are
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towering through the center, many stories. the scaffolding on the outside more than ten stories tall, and the flames lapping over them. a sight that's still, after all this time, more than two hours of watching it, really escapes belief. notre dame is being reduced to rubble before our eyes. it's just unimaginable. but indeed it has happened. in the days and weeks and months ahead, authorities will, in doubt, work to figure out what happened here. how this fire began, whether it was an accident of a construction, as might happen anywhere, in a wooden structure which has stood for 850 years, where the flames just began to spread and they got away from them and they couldn't control them. or it was something else. and there will be an
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investigation into how exactly those first responders did their jobs and came here. and there will no doubt be an investigation of the planning for such an emergency. what were the contingency plans? what were the fight back plan force an accident or whatever, that would start a fire in a cathedral of this sort? and there will be a lot of second guessing in the days ahead. but at this moment, as the sun set one minute ago in paris, we watched notre dame burn to the ground. i don't know about you, but i have just gone back through videos of a visit there and reminded how inspiring it was and what a place of peace and history it seemed to me. and a vibrant part of the city
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of paris, reduced to burning rubble. for those of you watching on fox television stations across the nation, we'll return you to regular programming. our coverage continues on fox news channel on satellite and cable now. >> shepard: the breaking news. 3:00 on the east coast. noon on the west coast. 8:00 p.m. in paris. the cathedral at notre dame is burning to the ground. the fire began just about, we believe, three-plus hours ago and has raged out of control ever since. we have pictures of the spire collapsing as it did more than an hour ago. largely the cathedral at notre dame is no more. the front of the building, the stone edifice, which is the site of so


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