Notre Dame cathedral's iconic roof and spire collapse in massive fire

Notre Dame cathedral's iconic roof and spire collapse in massive fire

Notre Dame cathedral's iconic roof and spire have collapsed in a massive fire, which reportedly began at 5.50pm (GMT) on Monday. Witnesses shared footage of the devastating damage on social media.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but thought to be linked to recent $6.8 million renovation work. As of this writing, no deaths or injuries have been reported, as the monument was evacuated quickly.

Videos of the collapse have been posted online. This is heartbreaking.

The French newspaper Le Monde reports that the flames began in the attic, then spread to the roof. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, described it as a "terrible fire" and urged residents to stay behind the safety perimeter set up by officials. Firefighters are currently battling the blaze.

One eyewitness who lies in Paris, Thibaud Binétruy, told CNN what it was like the moment the spire fell. "I was walking home with a colleague, " said Binétruy. "We were walking rue des carmes. And we saw the smoke. I couldn’t stop staring at it so I took some pics. When the spire fell, the crowd reacted with 'ohhh' and 'ahh,' but I guess most of them were just shocked, silently. It’s awful to see such a symbol disappearing in front of you. It’s been there for so many years and in a few minutes half of it disappears... crazy. Paris without Notre Dame...madness."

Every year, nearly 12 million people visit Notre Dame, which means 'Our Lady' and is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris. Construction began in 1160 and was completed in 1260, though it has been modified frequently since then. The monument is considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture, drawing tourists from all over the world.

Our thoughts are with those in Paris at this time.