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Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on fire

By Richard Tribou • Updated Apr 15, 2019 at 5:28 PM

 

The iconic Paris landmark Notre Dame cathedral caught on fire Monday.

People in the French capital posted video and Images of billowing smoke pouring from the Catholic cathedral in the middle of the city.

Firefighters were on scene to battle flames seen shooting out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral. As they battled the blaze, the spire on the 12th century building collapsed.

Television images showed the spire over the cathedral’s central crossing consumed by flames, with its upper part swaying and then falling.

The cause of the blaze was not known but the Notre Dame spokesman said the whole frame of the cathedral was burning.

Paris police said there were no deaths so far and the origin of the fire was unknown. The church is undergoing a $6.8 million renovation project and French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saying the fire is "potentially linked" to the renovation work.

The French Gothic cathedral was constructed between 800 and 900 years ago mostly between 1160 and 1260. It sits on an island in the Seine River called Île de la Cité.

It’s home to a vast art collection, and emergency crews are trying to salvage the artwork in addition to battling the fire.

Free to the public, it’s the most visited attraction in Paris with more than 13 million visitors a year, and one of the top 20 most visited attractions in the world.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says firefighters are trying to contain the "terrible fire" and says city officials are in touch with Roman Catholic diocese in Paris.

The Prefecture of Police sent a tweet asking people to avoid the area.

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