International desks – A fire has been broken out at an iconic building in the French capital of Paris. The fire spread quickly across the more than eigh hundred years old building, according to media reports.
BBC reported that the cause of the blaze was not yet clear, but officials say it could be linked to renovation work.
A major operation to tackle the blaze was under way at the 850-year-old Gothic building, but the cathedral’s spire and roof have collapsed.
Last year, the Catholic Church in France appealed for funds to save the building, which was crumbling.
Hundreds of people have gathered in the streets around the cathedral, observing the flames in silence, broadcaster reported.
President Emmanuel Macron, who has arrived at the scene, said his thoughts were with “all Catholics and all French people.”
“Like all of my countrymen, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
He has cancelled his planned speech to the nation following the fire, an Élysée Palace official said.
A spokesman for the cathedral said the whole structure was “burning”.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, described it as a “terrible fire” and urged people to respect the boundaries set up by fire crews in order to ensure that they remain safe.
US President Donald Trump suggested “perhaps flying water tankers” could be used to extinguish the fire.
The Notre-Dame cathedral, which is visited by millions of people every year, is undergoing renovations after cracks began to appear in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.
An inquiry into the incident was launched.