On Thursday, a fire broke out at the spire of Rouen Cathedral in northern France, prompting firefighters to intervene. Initial television footage depicted a dense column of dark smoke emanating from the structure. "We arrived at the scene approximately 30 minutes ago and are currently ensuring the fire is extinguished. It may take us another hour or so to confirm that there are no remaining hotspots," stated Stephane Gouezec, the fire brigade chief, during interviews with multiple TV channels. By 11:05 GMT, the smoke had dissipated, as shown in subsequent TV broadcasts.

Gouezec detailed that the operation involved 70 firefighters and approximately 40 fire engines. The fire originated about 120 meters above ground level within the spire, which had been under renovation for several years and was enveloped by scaffolding and a protective white cover. The cathedral, a gem of French medieval Gothic architecture dating back to the 12th century and famously depicted by Claude Monet in the 19th century, has garnered international recognition.

Earlier footage captured locals in the streets below, gazing in shock at the dark smoke filling the sky. More recent images revealed residual smoke seeping through a gap in the white cover surrounding the scaffolding, though it no longer formed a dark column. The incident echoed the catastrophic fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris in 2019, which also occurred during renovations. Similarly, in April of this year, a fire severely damaged Copenhagen's Old Stock Exchange, one of Denmark's most historic landmarks, causing its spire to collapse and parts of its outer walls to crumble.

The local prefecture, which oversees state authority in the region, confirmed that the cathedral had been evacuated and emergency services were present. A security perimeter was established around the building. While there were no reports of casualties, the extent of the damage remains uncertain.