Spire Atop Paris' Iconic Notre Dame Cathedral Collapses in Massive Fire

Posted April 16, 2019

Sparks fill the air as Paris Fire brigade members spray water to extinguish flames as the Notre Dame Cathedral burns in Paris, France, April 15, 2019.

Prosecutors say Paris police will conduct an investigation into "involuntary destruction caused by fire".

A major operation is under way to tackle the blaze, which broke out in the afternoon, and an area surrounding the building in central Paris has been cleared, it quoted officials as saying.

The cathedral was evacuated when the fire alarm was activated around 6.30pm, according to André Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame.

"The Notre Dame [cathedral] is among the most handsome of Paris's symbols and of France's in general, but also one of the most important to any cultured person", Rivlin said in a tweet.

Photos and videos on social media show the roof of the Gothic building covered in flames, issuing a plume of smoke above the city.

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Macron tweeted: "Our Lady of Paris in flames". The emotion of a whole nation. "For French people, it's a national symbol", he said.

He recalled that Notre Dame bells sounded the death knell following the 2015 Paris attacks.

The peak of the church is undergoing a $6.8 million renovation project.

Soule and her father, Win Soule, 58, and Libby Heselton, 53, are on a weeklong trip to Paris where they planned to "see all the sights" and had just finished their visit to Notre Dame.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo described it as a "terrible fire" and urged people at the scene to stay safe.

There was still a risk that some of the interior structures could collapse, and firefighters would work overnight to cool them down, he said.

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Notre-Dame is in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for works.

French President Emmanuel Macron arrived on the scene to meet with police and emergency responders, who were working to salvage artwork and artifacts inside.

Firefighters are attending to a large fire at the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France.

British politicians and religious leaders have expressed their sadness at the devastating fire engulfing Notre Dame cathedral this evening.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said his city "stands in sorrow with Paris today".

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter, "A bad fire is underway at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris".

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