Compiled from Associated Press and other news reports.
Flames are tearing through the historic Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday.
Video and photos of flames bursting through one of the most historic and recognizable buildings in the world were circulating on social media on Monday.
The BBC is reporting that the cause of the fire is not clear, but officials say it may be related to work from a major ongoing renovation.
The started at some time in the afternoon in Paris and has continued to grow into the evening.
Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said outside the iconic cathedral as his crews battled the blaze into the evening from both the exterior and interior: “We are not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading” to Notre Dame’s second tower and belfry.
Gallet said: “If it collapses, you can imagine how important the damage will be.”
The deputy mayor of Paris says Notre Dame Cathedral has suffered “colossal damages” from a fire that started in the spire and caused it to collapse.
Speaking to BFMTV, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said first responders had tried to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.
A cathedral spokesman has told the AP that the entire wooden interior of the Notre Dame is burning and likely to be destroyed.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.
French historian Camille Pascal told BFM broadcast channel the fire was destroying “invaluable heritage.”
“It’s been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris”, Pascal said. “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.”
Police have told reporters there have been no reported deaths, but have not commented on possible injuries.
Sidewalks and streets surrounding the beloved landmark were packed with onlookers, according to reports.
President Trump Tweeted: 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!
France’s civil security agency says “all means” except for water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze.
The defense agency said those were unsuitable for fires like the one at Notre Dame because dumping water on the building could cause the whole structure to collapse.
According to the Associated Press, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the “terrible fire.” Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world. Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine river, the cathedral’s architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses.
Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
Source: Oil City Staff