The cathedral’s spire has collapsed, but officials said the structure’s two main towers had been saved.
A major fire has engulfed one of France’s most famous landmarks – the medieval Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. Firefighters are battling to save the 850-year-old Gothic building, but its spire and roof have collapsed. The cause is not yet clear, but officials say that it could be linked to renovation work.
A Paris fire official said the main structure had now been “saved and preserved”. The Paris prosecutor’s office said it has opened an inquiry into “accidental destruction by fire.”
Loud bangs could be heard as flames burst through the cathedral’s roof, also destroying its stained-glass windows. All efforts are now being put into saving the cathedral’s artwork and preventing the collapse of its northern tower. Thousands of people have gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns or said prayers.
Several churches around the French capital have been ringing their bells in response to the blaze. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild Notre Dame with help from the international community after a devastating fire gutted the famous cathedral on Monday night.
Speaking just hours after the roof of the 850-year-old building caved in, Macron told the world’s assembled press that a national fundraising campaign to restore Notre Dame would be launched Tuesday, and he called on the world’s ‘greatest talents’ to help.