The famed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France was engulfed in flames on Monday leading to the collapse of the structure’s main spire. The intense flames leaped out from two of its bell towers minutes before the spire collapsed, and later spread to one of the cathedral’s iconic rectangular towers.
A church spokesman told French media that all of Notre Dame cathedral’s frame is burning after the spire collapsed.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told local outlets.
Dramatic video showed black smoke billowing from the top of the cathedral as firefighters furiously worked to contain the flames. The sight stopped pedestrians in their tracks along the Seine River, which passes under the cathedral.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo called it a “terrible fire.”
“Notre-Dame of Paris is in flames. Emotion in the whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted. “Like all our countrymen, I’m sad to see this part of us burn.”
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, told BFMTV that the cathedral has suffered “colossal damages.”
Paris emergency services said they were trying to salvage the artwork stored in the cathedral.
The French capital’s police department said no deaths have been reported but didn’t say anything about injuries.
Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with the Paris diocese.
The intensity of the flames coming out of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris… pic.twitter.com/JDAMCXFMk4
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 15, 2019
The fire department was fighting the flames, while the area near the cathedral was being cleared.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire. Notre Dame was undergoing a $6.8 million renovation project, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for work.
Sources told Fox News that it appears the fire, which comes one day after Psalm Sunday and during Holy Week, was related to recent construction done at the cathedral.
Macron canceled a planned televised speech to the nation in light of the “terrible fire” underway at the cathedral, an official at the president’s Elysee office said.
President Donald Trump tweeted about the fire, writing it was “horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.”
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
U.S. Cardinal Dolan tweeted: “I just went next door to our own beloved Cathedral, Saint Patrick’s, to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames! God preserve this splendid house of prayer, and protect those battling the blaze.”
Located on the Ile de la Cite in the center of Paris, the Gothic cathedral — which dates back to the 12th century — attracts millions of tourists each year. The cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.
It was featured in Victor Hugo’s novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.