Large Fire Breaks Out At Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris

Ablaze: Notre Dame Catherdal in Paris engulfed in fire

Flames and smoke billow from the roof of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

While a huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area, Parisians and tourists watched on, some of them lost for words and others keen to share their sadness.

A spokesman said the blaze was likely to bring the entire wooden frame of the cathedral down, and the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.

French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a televised speech to the nation because of a massive fire enveloping the top of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said outside the iconic cathedral as his crews battled the blaze from both the exterior and interior: "We are not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading" to Notre Dame's second tower and belfry. Officials have not said what caused the fire, which broke out Monday afternoon.

Paris police said firefighters were working both inside and outside the building, while red smoke poured out of the cathedral.

"I just went next door to our own beloved Cathedral, Saint Patrick's, to ask the intercession of Notre Dame, our Lady, for the Cathedral at the heart of Paris, and of civilization, now in flames!" the cardinal tweeted.

As for the cause of the fire, speculation blames the renovations work.

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"So disgusting to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris".

As it stands, the fire has already all but destroyed the roof, and the spire has collapsed into the building. And while viewers around the world watched the disaster unfold, President Donald Trump - for some reason - felt the need to chime in.

Notre Dame has enjoyed a special place in literature and film as the subject of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was made into a popular animated movie by Disney in 1996.

Although there was no evidence of a connection, France has seen a number of attacks on Catholic churches in the past year, including arson and vandalism. The church is undergoing a $6.8 million renovation, according to the Associated Press.

The cathedral is "more than a historical monument", according to the translated cathedral website.

A cathedral spokesperson said the fire was first reported at 5.50pm GMT and the building was evacuated.

The president said his thoughts were with all Catholics and all French people.

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