Notre-Dame cathedral: Firefighters tackle blaze in Paris

Notre-Dame cathedral: Firefighters tackle blaze in Paris

Notre-Dame cathedral: Firefighters tackle blaze in Paris

"They won't be able to see it". "I'm not religious, but this is clearly very important to a lot of people".

At around 1930 GMT, almost three hours after the fire started, a Fire Department spokesman said the next 90 minutes would be crucial in seeing if the blaze could be contained.

"We are a people of hope and of the resurrection, and as devastating as this fire is, I know that the faith and love embodied by this magnificent Cathedral will grow stronger in the hearts of all Christians".

"We pray that there will be no injuries, for the fire not to be intentional and for least possible damage to the Church", a statement released in Jerusalem said.

Notre Dame has enjoyed a special place in literature and film as the subject of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was made into a popular animated movie by Disney in 1996.

A spokesman for the cathedral said the whole structure was "burning".

■The Associated Press reported around 9 p.m. that the mammoth blaze had spread from the spire to one of the church's rectangular towers. The fire brigade are trying to control the fire.

Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames.

Thick clouds of smoke filled the skies above the capital as the cathedral burned.

Notre Dame has become a regular feature in Hollywood films - but it was perhaps best popularised by Quasimodo, the monument's fictional deformed bell-ringer.

The imposing Gothic cathedral is around 800 years old.

He recalled that Notre Dame's bells sounded a death knell after the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. A thought for all Catholics and for all French.

And every year during Holy Week, Notre Dame unveils some of the most coveted relics in Christendom.

"There will be nothing left", a cathedral spokesman told media.

As Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, Notre Dame is "part of our common heritage". Firefighters are tackling the fire which began around 7pm local time - with the spire collapsing in flames two hours later.

The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions.

The cause of the blaze was not known. The absence of the statues will also signal the start of the renovation work of the spire that will last until 2022.

The Vatican said the fire at the "symbol of Christianity in France and in the world" had caused shock and sadness and said it was praying for the firefighters. Several police sources said that they were working on the assumption for now that the fire was accidental. The police department didn't say anything about injuries.

President Emmanuel Macron postponed his 8pm speech to head to the site of the fire. The stone portions of the building may survive more-or-less undamaged, but the artifacts contained within, the stained glass, the organ that dates to 1738, and the various reliquaries could be a complete loss.

"Who is not deeply moved at the sight of this great Cathedral in flames?"

As of late Monday, the raging fire put the building's future under threat; its 19 century spire, which was in the process being renovated, and vast sections of its 12th century roof collapsed. It's unclear if anyone has been hurt in the fire.

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