Notre Dame cathedral's spire collapses as roof engulfed by fire

Notre Dame cathedral's spire collapses as roof engulfed by fire

Notre Dame cathedral's spire collapses as roof engulfed by fire

The blaze collapsed the cathedral's spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers.

"My prayers are for the French people, the Diocese of Paris, and everyone who will have to work hard to rebuild an global treasure, eternal and powerful", Castellanos said.

Thousands of onlookers lined bridges over Seine and along its embankments, held at a distance by a police cordon.

Politicians from across the world tweeted their condolences and support to the French people.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives at the front entrance of the cathedral. "Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see the burning of this part of us".

A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.

"Notre Dame is one of the world's great treasures, and we're thinking of the people of France in your time of grief", Obama said on Twitter. But firefighters had struggled to take down some of the large paintings in time, he said. Several police sources said that they were working on the assumption for now that it was accidental.

A firefighter at the scene said all efforts were being directed at saving the northern tower and the artwork at the back of the cathedral.

"The fire is now weaker", said Laurent Nunez, French secretary to the interior minister. The fire caused the collapse of the church's famous spire, which was made of wood and covered with lead.

While experts said that the cathedral was not at risk of sudden collapse, many will now be fearing the worst, as parts have already collapsed.

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The Vatican said Pope Francis "has seen with shock and sadness the news of the awful fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world". It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.

Raphaelle Bacqué, a journalist for French newspaper Le Monde, shared the photos on her Twitter account, hours after the medieval Catholic cathedral went up in flames Monday.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world. "It's a real symbol of Paris".

The fire may have been linked to renovation work being done on the cathedral.

It is not possible to think of Paris without thinking of Notre-Dame.

It is renowned for its rib vaulting, flying buttresses and stunning stained glass windows, as well as its many carved stone gargoyles.

Macron's pre-recorded speech was set to be aired later Monday on French TV.

He recalled that Notre Dame's bells sounded a death knell after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris.

"From our hotel room we watched the big tall spire go straight down into the nave of the church", Debbie Furr said.

"I am following minute by minute the fire that is preying on Notre Dame".

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