Fire breaks out at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

Ablaze: Notre Dame Catherdal in Paris engulfed in fire

Ablaze: Notre Dame Catherdal in Paris engulfed in fire

On the ground in Paris, some 400 firefighters have been mobilised to tackle the flames which have spread across the Cathedral's roof, bringing down its spire.

Beyond the Catholics who attend mass there and the tourists who go to look for a glimpse of Quasimodo, the cathedral represents a landmark in Parisian life that is now likely permanently scarred, if not disfigured or ruined.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a "symbol of French and European culture".

"This fire is nowhere under control - it's getting worse before our eyes", said CNN correspondent Melissa Bell.

Victor Hugo's novel Hunchback of Notre-Dame is known to the French simply as Notre Dame de Paris. Under normal circumstances, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris would have been preparing to display its holy relics to the faithful on Good Friday. I literally just visited Notre Dame two days ago.

"All around the world, all of us feel a certain sadness in our hearts at the thought of the people of Paris losing not only such an astonishing, most lovely cathedral in the world, but their cathedral", Thomas Cardinal Collins said. "Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn", French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted. No injuries have been reported, and the Paris Prosecutor's Office has said it will launch an investigation.

It is unclear whether anyone has been hurt.

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Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world.

Macron's pre-recorded speech was set to be aired later Monday on French TV.

His work in 2014-2015 uncovered that the Gallery of Kings had shifted nearly a foot out of plumb and that this area of the cathedral might have been left untouched for as much of a decade before work began again, giving the soil time to settle.

Hidalgo said Paris authorities are in touch with Paris diocese.

Before the blaze, the church had been undergoing an extensive $6.8 million renovation.

The spire of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris collapsed on Monday as a huge fire ravaged the roof of the famed gothic monument, deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told BFM TV, describing "colossal damage".

Flames were seen coming from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on the afternoon of April 15, 2019.

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