The spire of Notre Dame Cathedral collapsed on Monday as a massive fire spread through the iconic building.
Yellow clouds of smoke could be seen billowing into an otherwise perfect blue sky. The entire back roof burned through.
The heat of the fire could be felt from across the River Seine.
Firefighters at the scene were pumping water from cranes.
The iconic building in the center of the city is the most visited monument in Paris, with more than 12 million visitors a year – nearly double the people who visit Eiffel Tower.
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted: “Notre-Dame of Paris preyed by the flames. The sorrow of an entire nation. Out thoughts with all Catholics and French people. Like all our compatriots, I’m sad tonight to see this part of ourselves burn.”
Donia Hammami, 35, a trade expert in Paris, ran to the scene from her gym nearby when she saw the reports. She was in tears in the crowd, watching the cathedral burn.
“For me, this has been an inspiration for so many other churches in Europe from the 14th century onward, in the way it came up with the a way to mirror more light,” Hammami said. “It’s been here for all those ages, and now it’s token to burn.”
“This is a historic moment for all of us, in the worst possible sense of the term,” she added.
President Donald Trump tweeted his advice to Paris: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
The cathedral has been under renovation, and officials were considering the blaze an accident relating to construction.
Although there was no evidence of a connection, France has seen a number of attacks on Catholic churches in the past year, including arson and vandalism.
Paris’ Church of St. Suplice was set on fire after midday mass last month. No one was injured Police are investigating, but firefighters attributed the blaze to arson.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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