Firefighters are attending to a large fire at the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, however, officials have indicated it could be linked to current renovation work.
Images shared on social media show large plumes of smoke above the historic building and the cathedral’s spire has now collapsed.
— GPN France (@FranceGPN) April 15, 2019
Just seems such a huge, heartbreaking fire. Hope nobody is hurt, first & foremost. And aside from that, as anyone who has visited knows, it’s such a stunning cathedral. #NotreDame pic.twitter.com/GSoySswJ3w
— Hannah Jane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) April 15, 2019
A major operation is now under way as firefighters attempt to tackle the large blaze and an area surrounding the Gothic building has been cleared.
The cathedral is 850 years old, and last year the Catholic Church launched an urgent appeal for funds to repair the building, which was showing serious signs of decay. The construction of Notre Dame – which means ‘Our Lady’ – began in 1160 and was mostly completed a hundred years later in 1260. It has been modified on numerous occasions throughout the centuries since.
On Twitter, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, described the fire as ‘terrible’.
She said: “A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The @PompiersParis are trying to control the flames. We are mobilised on the spot in close connection with the @dioceseParis. I ask everyone to respect the security perimeter.”
French President, Emmanuel Macron, has cancelled a planned public address.
The President of the United States, Donald Trump, has also tweeted his concern.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019