Lori Hinnant, The Associated Press
Published Monday, April 15, 2019 1:17PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, April 15, 2019 3:00PM EDT
PARIS — A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.
A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.
The cause of the catastrophic blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is “potentially linked” to a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead. Paris police said there were no reported deaths.
Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Sights of the flames stopped passers-by in their tracks along the Seine River that passes beneath the cathedral.
French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.
French historian Camille Pascal told BFM broadcast channel the fire was destroying “invaluable heritage.”
“It’s been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris”, Pascal said. “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.”
He recalled that Notre Dame bells sounded the death knell following the 2015 Paris attacks.
“We can be only horrified by what we see”, Pascal said.
Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the centre of Paris.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the “terrible fire.” Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.
Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with Paris diocese.
The latest on the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron says the fire consuming Notre Dame Cathedral is taking part of everyone in France with it.
Macron tweeted after the blaze broke out in the cathedral’s spire on Monday he was sad to see “a part of us being on fire.”
He extended “thoughts for all the Catholics and all the French.”
His administration says Macron is heading to Notre Dame.
The deputy mayor of Paris says Notre Dame Cathedral has suffered “colossal damages” from a fire that started in the spire and caused it to collapse.
Speaking to BFMTV, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said first responders now trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.
A cathedral spokesman has said the entire wooden interior of the Notre Dame is burning and likely to be destroyed.
U.S. President Donald Trump has tweeted about the fire engulfing Paris’ iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.
Trump wrote on Twitter after the fire broke out Monday: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris” and made suggestions for how first responders should tackle it.
He said: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out,” adding: “Must act quickly!”
Firefighters were trying to contain the fire when the cathedral’s spire collapsed. Authorities say the wooden interior now is burning.
The soaring spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has collapsed in flames, and a church spokesman says the entire wooden interior of the 12th century landmark is burning and likely to be destroyed.
A massive fire engulfed the roof of the cathedral in the heart of the French capital on Monday afternoon as Parisians watched in horror.
Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media: “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.”
The cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.
The cause of the blaze isn’t yet known, but scaffolding could be seen on the roof of the burning structure. The spire was undergoing renovation.
Police in Paris say the cause of the massive fire enveloping the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t yet known.
The French capital’s police department said no deaths have been reported from Monday’s fire. The police department didn’t say anything about injuries.
The peak of the 12th century cathedral is undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project.
French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saying the fire is “potentially linked” to the renovation work.
Located on the Ile de la Cite in the centre of Paris, the Gothic cathedral is among the most famous from the Middle Ages and was built on the ruins of two earlier churches.
French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a televised speech to the nation because of a massive fire enveloping the top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Flames are shooting out of the roof behind the nave of the 12th cathedral, one of the world’s most visited landmarks.
The sight stopped pedestrians in their tracks along the Seine River, which passes under the cathedral.
Authorities said the fire could be linked to renovation work. It’s unclear if anyone has been hurt in the fire.
Macron’s pre-recorded speech was set to be aired later Monday on French TV. Macron was expected to lay out his plan to address the citizen complaints that gave rise to the yellow vest protests that have rocked France since November.