Notre Dame cathedral might be completely destroyed by fire, says French official
A spokesperson for Notre Dame Cathedral said that the entire wooden interior is on fire and will likely be destroyed.
Watch the heartbreaking moment the spire collapses:
On Monday afternoon, a blaze engulfed the 12th century landmark, causing the iconic spire and roof to collapse. The cause of the fire has not been reported, but is thought to be linked to recent renovation work. As of this writing, no deaths or injuries have been reported, as the monument was evacuated quickly. Footage of the fire's devastating damage spread rapidly on social media. One video shows a crowd gathered outside the catheral, singing hymns as it burns.
Notre Dame is the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Paris and considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture. Since construction completed in 1260, it has been a seminal part of the city's skyline. 12 million people reportedly visit the monument every year, making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paris.
President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker issued a statement: "I am minute by minute the fire of which Notre-Dame de Paris is the prey. Our Lady of Paris belongs to the whole of mankind. What a sad spectacle. What a horror. I share the emotion of the French nation which is also ours."
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."
The Vatican issued the following statement: "The Holy See has learned with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, symbol of Christianity, in France and in the world. We express our closeness to the French Catholic and to the people of Paris. We pray for the fire fighters and for all those who are doing everything possible to face this dramatic situation."
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, expressed his shock and sadness in a statement to the people of Paris.
"The horrific fire that is engulfing the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris is shocking and saddens us all, for this particular cathedral is not only a majestic Church, it is also a world treasure. Noble in architecture and art, it has long been a symbol of the transcendent human spirit as well as our longing for God.
"Our hearts go out to the Archbishop and the people of Paris, and we pray for all the people of France, entrusting all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, especially the firefighters battling the fire. 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."
"My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral," tweeted UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
"So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris," tweeted US President Donald Trump. "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"
Notre Dame has been a seminal part of Paris' skyline since construction completed in 1260. French president Emmanuel Macron considers the disaster a national emergency and has arrived at the scene.
Our thoughts are with those in Paris at this time.