A major fire has broken out at Paris’s famous Notre Dame cathedral, destroying the entire roof of the medieval landmark.
Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire, which drew crowds of people to gather in nearby squares as a huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.
The moment #NotreDame’s spire fell
“Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
“Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” said witness Jacek Poltorak, who was watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France’s most visited places.
The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, attracts millions of tourists every year.
Notre Dame fire
A major operation was underway, the fire department said, while a city hall spokesman said on Twitter the area was being cleared.
France 2 television reported police were treating the incident as an accident.
There have not been any reports of injuries in the blaze.
Notre Dame was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for works.
Every new clip looks worse. What a terrible thing to watch in real time.