The Cathedrale Notre-Dame is on fire, according to the Paris fire department. Multiple eyewitnesses shared photos and videos of the cathedral with visible plumes of smoke and flames across the cathedral’s roof.
Firefighters responded to an alarm raised shortly before 7 pm, April 15. The historic spire of the cathedral, which stood 226 feet tall, collapsed shortly before 8 pm.
The entire cathedral roof appears to have collapsed, while the fire continues to burn within the main structure.
Initial reports indicated that buring debris from the fire was falling in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, but local media are now describing the fire as contained with in the cathedral building itself.
Firefighters have cautioned that although the height of the flames appears has abated, the fire within the cathedral itself is not under contol. Efforts were initially hampered by the height of the cathedral roof, which prevented emergency services from reaching the flames.
No announcement has yet been made concerning any injuries or fatalities resulting from the fire.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo issued a series of brief statements via Twitter saying that emergency responders are fighting to control the flames and appealing to local residents to keep the area clear to assist their efforts.
Officials have not yet determined what caused the fire, which is still burning. Both the fire department and city authorities have confirmed that investigations into the origin and cause of the fire will be opened as soon as possible.
Built between the twelfth through fourteenth centuries, the landmark cathedral in the French capital is one of the most recognizable churches in the world, receiving more than 12 million visitors each year.
The cathedral was undergoing some restorative work at the time the fire broke out, though it is unknown if the fire originated in the area of the work.
The fire comes after several weeks of vandalism and arson attacks on church buildings across France.
French President Emmanuel Macron released a statement on Twitter expressing the “emotion” of “the whole nation.”
Macron said his thoughts were with all Catholics and French citizens.
“Like all our compatriots, tonight I am sad to see a part of [all of] us burn.”
Macron is expected to arrive at the scene of the fire later this evening.