Notre Dame fire: Horror as Paris cathedral spire COLLAPSES but Macron vows to REBUILD

The spire and roof of the landmark in France’s capital collapsed as flames ripped though the 850-year-old building. Dramatic pictures and videos show smoke rising from the medieval cathedral. The massive fire has now spread to one of Notre Dame‘s famous rectangular towers. Firefighters can be seen tackling the blaze with jets of water.  A senior official from the Paris fire department said once firefighter had been seriously injured tackling the blaze.

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The Paris fire chief said it is unclear if city firefighters will be able to keep the blaze from spreading and causing more destruction.

Jean-Claude Gallet, speaking outside the cathedral, said “we are not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading” to Notre Dame‘s second tower and belfry.

He said: “If it collapses, you can imagine how important the damage will be.”

Flames already have reached one of Notre Dame‘s towers and brought down the church spire that extended 315ft high.

A huge fire has engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (Image: GETTY)

An area has been cleared around the monument in the city centre and nearby buildings evacuated.

The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered “colossal damages”.

French President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a planned address to the nation due to the inferno and later visited the devastating scene.

He tweeted: “Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I‘m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”

The spire and roof of the landmark in France’s capital have collapsed (Image: EPA)

to the people of Paris.

Donald Trump said it was “horrible” to watch footage of the blaze while Theresa May and Angela Merkel both spoke of their “sadness”.

The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Vatican have said they are praying for Paris.

Notre Dame is a focal point for French Roman Catholics who like Christians around the world are celebrating Holy Week, marking the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The Archbishop of Paris tonight called on all priests in Paris to ring church bells as a gesture of solidarity for the beloved cathedral.

Thick smoke and flames billow from the historic building (Image: GETTY)

The cause of the fire is not yet clear but it could be linked to renovation works at the historic site.

A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior was burning and likely to be destroyed.

A policeman at the scene added: “Everything is collapsing.”

Emergency services were fighting to salvage the priceless artwork in the cathedral.

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Distraught Parisians and stunned tourists looked on in disbelief as the monstrous inferno tore through the cathedral, one of the world‘s best-loved monuments.

Thousands of onlookers lined bridges over the Seine and along the river‘s embankments, held at a distance by a police cordon as the blaze engulfed the cathedral‘s roof.

Elizabeth Caille, 58, who lives close to the cathedral, said: “I‘m devastated. It‘s a symbol of Paris. It‘s a symbol of Christianity. It‘s a whole world that is collapsing.”

As dark fell over the French capital, orange flames rising through the heart of the 12th century Gothic cathedral cast an eerie glow through its stained-glass windows and against its stone towers.

Dramatic pictures and videos show smoke rising from the medieval cathedral (Image: GETTY)

Stunned observers stood rooted to the spot as the scale of catastrophe sunk in, questioning whether the cathedral would survive the night as clouds of acrid-smelling smoke rose into the sky.

Built over a century starting around the year 1160, historians consider Notre Dame to be among the best examples of French Gothic cathedral architecture.

Firefighters can be seen tackling the blaze with water. (Image: GETTY)

The blaze prompted a devastated reaction on social media.

US President Donald Trump tweeted: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”

Witness Ashley Huntington, an American student studying in Paris, said: “It just looks like it‘s out of control. I‘ve never seen a fire in real life but the flames keep getting bigger and bigger. I don‘t think it‘s getting better at all.

“The police right now are definitely making sure the public is cleared away. We keep getting pushed further and further away.”

The blaze prompted a devastated reaction on social media (Image: EPA)

Paris prosecutor’s office said it has launched a probe into the fire (Image: REUTERS)

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo described it as a “terrible fire”.

The cause of the blaze at the Gothic monument which dates back to the 12th century is not yet known.

France 2 television reported that police were treating the incident as an accident.

Officials said it could be linked to renovation works being carried out on the cathedral.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear but it could be linked to renovation works (Image: GETTY)

Parts of the building were covered by scaffolding while bronze statues were removed last week.

Paris prosecutor’s office said it has launched an inquiry into the fire.

The cathedral is famous for its part in Victor Hugo‘s novel the Hunchback of Notre-Dame and it attracts millions of tourists every year.

Work started on the building in 1163 and its original structure was completed nearly 200 years later, in 1345,

Its name translates to “Our Lady of Paris”.

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