- The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire on Monday.
- Before that, it was undergoing renovations.
- The restoration process began in 2017, the New York Times reported.
- Statues had been removed from the cathedral as recently as Thursday.
On Monday, Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire. It’s unclear what started the blaze or how long it has lasted for.
The Paris Police wrote in a tweet that emergency responders were on scene and cautioned people to stay away from the area.
The New York Times spoke to cathedral spokesperson André Finot, who said the fire was started in the spire of the cathedral.
Read more: The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire
“Everywhere the stone is eroded, and the more the wind blows, the more all of these little pieces keep falling,” André Finot, a spokesperson for the cathedral said. “It’s spinning out of control everywhere.”
At the time, the cathedral was far from its prime.
Gargoyles and other statues were eroded and otherwise damaged. Items were propped up were beams and held together by straps. And flying buttresses were eroded and discolored from years of water damage and pollution, the newspaper noted.
According to the Times, the biggest renovation at the cathedral took place between 1844 and 1864 when the spire and the flying buttresses were rebuilt.
The most recent overhaul, however, was meant to be more subtle. “The idea isn’t to replace every single stone. I don’t want to give this cathedral a face-lift,” Philippe Villeneuve, the chief architect behind the project, said.
The renovations, which are estimated to cost $150 million euro ($169 million) were still ongoing Monday when the cathedral caught fire.
As recently as Thursday, religious statues were taken off the top of the cathedral. According to the Chicago Tribune, 16 copper statues representing the twelve apostles and four evangelists were taken to southwestern France to be worked on as a part of the restoration.