Notre-Dame Cathedral went up in flames on Monday April 15th in a roaring blaze that devastated the Parisian landmark, a searing loss for the city and for France, Reuters reported.
Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.
A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area. Parisians watched on, many of them lost for words.
“Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn,” President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
“Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” said witness Jacek Poltorak, watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France’s most visited sites.
Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very centre of Paris. Witnesses said the whole island was being evacuated.
Nobody was injured, junior interior minister Laurent Nunez said at the scene, adding: “It’s too early to determine the causes of the fire.”
The Paris prosecutor’s office said it had launched an inquiry into the fire. France 2 television reported that police were treating it as an accident.
“Everything is collapsing,” a police officer near the scene said as the cathedral continued to burn.
Macron, who cancelled an address to the nation that he had been due to give on Monday evening, went to the scene of the blaze.