Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: ‘TERRIBLE’ blaze SPREADS through Paris cathedral

The 800-year-old Notre Dame cathedral in , one of the most famous landmarks in the world, is in danger of being lost entirely to a massive blaze, the French ministry warned tonight. Paris’s deputy mayor, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered “colossal damages” and the race was now on to save priceless artwork from inside. A cathedral spokesman said the entire wooden interior was alight and is expected to be destroyed.

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Shocking pictures showed Notre Dame‘s spire earlier being engulfed by roaring flames before it collapsed.

Fire teams are now desperately trying to prevent the collapse of the northern tower.

President Emmanuel Macron is at the scene after cancelling a television address he had been due to give to the nation on Monday night.

He tweeted earlier: “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.”

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: The massive blaze has caused the roof and spire to collapse (Image: Getty)

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also took to social media to exclaim her sadness, writing on “A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.”

The 12th-century cathedral is the setting for Victor Hugo‘s classic novel The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

It is renowned for its rib vaulting, stained glass windows, flying buttresses and carved stone gargoyles.

Outpourings of emotions have swept in from across the world, including world and religious leaders.

Prime Minister Theresa May tweeted: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral.”

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: Flames on the roof of the 12th-century cathedral (Image: EPA)

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: The structure has two bell towers (Image: Getty)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was deeply saddened and sorry to see Monday‘s images of fire devastating Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, which she described as a “symbol of France and our European culture”.

The archbishop of Paris called on all priests in Paris to ring church bells as a gesture of solidarity for Notre-Dame.

The Vatican said it was sending prayers to the fire service and people of Paris.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said in a statement: “The terrible news of the fire that has devastated the cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world, was received in the Holy See with shock and sadness.

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: The blaze as seen by the River Seine (Image: Reuters )

“We express our closeness to French Catholics and to the people of Paris and we assure our prayers for the firefighters and all those who are doing everything possible deal with this dramatic situation.”

Devastated Parisians have also described their heartbreak at seeing the fire’s devastation.

Witness Jacek Poltorak said: “Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building.”

Samantha Silva, speaking with tears in her eyes, said: “I have a lot of friends who live abroad and every time they come I tell them to go to Notre-Dame.

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: Sparks fill the air as firefighters fight the flames (Image: Reuters)

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: The spire burning (Image: Reuters )

“I‘ve visited it so many times, but it will never be the same. It‘s a real symbol of Paris.”

Work began in 1163. while the original structure was completed nearly 200 years later, in 1345.

The name literally translates to “Our Lady of Paris”.

Nowadays, Notre Dame is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: Firefighters are tackling the blaze (Image: Getty)

Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: A man watches the flames engulf the Gothic building (Image: Getty)

What caused the fire?

Notre Dame was in the middle of renovations when the fire started at 6pm BST (7pm local time), with sections of scaffolding in place.

French media have reported the blaze might be linked to the renovations.

Firefighters were seen trying to douse the flames with water.

There are no reported injuries.

US President Donald Trump tweeted his support, suggesting “flying water tankers” might be used in the fight to battle the flames.

He wrote: “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!”

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