A major fire has broken out at the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris, causing huge damage to the 12th century building.
Media footage showed the cathedral in the French capital continuing to burn as night fell Monday, with flames leaping uncontrollably from the roof after the spire collapsed.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said firefighters are trying to contain a “terrible fire.” It is not clear what caused the blaze or if anyone has been hurt.
French media reported that fire officials say the blaze could be “potentially linked” to renovation work at the building.
Several sections of the building had been under scaffolding and officials say bronze statues were removed last week for the renovation.
Firefighters cleared the area around the cathedral as ash fell over the surrounding blocks.
Witnesses say fire trucks sped to the area after the fire broke out shortly before 7pm local time. Hundreds of people gathered on Paris bridges over the Seine River to witnesses the scene.
The fire has prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to postpone a planned televised speech to the country about national policy.
U.S. 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!”
U.S. first lady Melania Trump wrote on Twitter My heart breaks for the people of Paris after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Praying for everyone’s safety.
The medieval Catholic cathedral is one of the most visited historical monuments in Europe. It dates to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.