French officials announced late Monday that the fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was under control and much of the main structure itself had been saved.
However, some of its iconic woodwork burned in the blaze and it’s too early to assess the full damage to the architectural masterpiece, parts of which are more than 850 years old.
The first images from inside the cathedral showed a cross still standing at the altar along with sculptor Nicolas Coustou’s Descent From The Cross, or Pietà, apparently intact:
A closer look showed the 300-year-old sculpture in more detail:
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter that a human chain had saved major works of art and religious objects, including the Crown of Thorns and the Tunic of Saint Louis.
Even as firefighters worked inside the cathedral, burning embers continued to fall from above:
Several images revealed the red glow of flames still burning in what was left of the ceiling:
“The framework, which dates from the 19th century on one side and the 13th century on the other, there will be nothing left,” spokesman André Finot told Le Monde. “We have to see if the vault, which protects the cathedral, will be affected or not.”
Due to renovations, at least some of the cathedral’s art was taken off-site, saving it from the blaze, The New York Times reported. Last week, statues of the Twelve Apostles and Four Evangelists were removed from the spire, which fell during Monday’s blaze.
Early images from the scene showed that many of the stone carvings which adorn the walls remained largely undamaged, especially at ground level: