A huge fire has broken out in Paris’ Notre Dame, the world-famous, 850-year-old cathedral on Monday, destroying the frame and toppling the structure’s storied spire.
A Paris fire department spokesperson told Reuters News Agency the area was being cleared and a large-scale operation was underway to address the blaze.
The Associated Press is reporting that Paris police say the cause of the fire is unknown and no deaths have been reported. There is no information about any injuries.
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo released a brief statement on Twitter saying that firefighters are “trying to control the flames,” and asked people to avoid the area.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that the burning cathedral was the “emotion of a whole nation.”
“Like all our countrymen, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” he tweeted.
Videos and images of the enormous fire engulfing the medieval Catholic cathedral have flooded social media. In them, enormous plumes of smoke can be seen erupting from the cathedral, with flames leaping up to its bell towers and spire, which eventually collapsed. A church spokesperson told the AP that the whole of the cathedrals frame is on fire and television network France 24 is reporting that “the roof has entirely collapsed.”
According to the AP, Notre Dame spokesperson Andre Finot told French media that “nothing will remain from the frame.”
Construction of Notre Dame began in 1163, according to the cathedral’s website, and was complete about 1250. It is one of Europe’s most-popular tourist attractions drawing about 12 million people a year to its doors.
In recent years, its hundreds of years have caused the cathedral to fall into a state of disrepair , with no clear decision about who would take up the cost for expensive restorations.
France 24 is also reporting that Macron has canceled a planned address to the nation, which was expected to cover ongoing civil unrest.
Source: News Agencies