France’s iconic Notre Dame Cathedral devastated by fire

UPDATE | THE HISTORIC Notre Dame Cathedral in France has been reduced to a shell, after the centuries-old landmark was ravaged by fire.

A blaze broke out in the late afternoon on Monday (local time), before quickly spreading and bursting through the roof and engulfing the iconic spire, which collapsed.

Thousands of onlookers lined bridges over Seine, gasping as the spire folded over onto itself and was eaten up by the flames, while a huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.


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Crews took around five hours to contain the inferno, with the first photographs from inside the cathedral just revealed, while an earlier aerial drone image showed how far the fire had spread.

Two thirds of the roof has reportedly been destroyed and one firefighter has been seriously injured. It’s not believed anyone else has been hurt in the blaze.

“We now believe that the two towers of Notre-Dame have been saved… (along with) the main structure,” Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters at the scene.

An emotional President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the cathedral, calling on donations from across the world.

“Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives,” Macron said while standing in front of the still burning landmark.

“Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”

French billionaire, François-Henri Pinault, has pledged 100 million euros (AU$157 million) towards rebuilding Notre Dame.

EARLIER | PARIS LOCALS and tourists have watched on in horror as the city’s iconic Notre-Dame Cathedral became engulfed by a massive fire.

The inferno, which broke out in the afternoon (local time) continued to rage into the night with crews struggling to contain the flames.

The famous spire of the centuries-old landmark has collapsed, along with part of the roof. The blaze also spread to one of the cathedral’s two towers.

The spire had been undergoing a $9.5 million renovation, with some statues removed from the section just last week.

It’s not known if those renovations have sparked the fire, with the cause still not know.

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media.

The cathedral, which for many who visit Paris is one of the first stops on their journey, is home to incalculable works of art.

Hundreds lined the streets to watch the historic landmark crumble as a huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.

“Our Lady of Paris in flames,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

“Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” he continued.

 

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