The Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris Is On Fire

Footage of the blaze quickly spread on social media

Photo: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/Getty Images

A fire has broken out in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, one of the French capital’s most iconic landmarks, according to officials and eye witnesses. The cause for the blaze is still unconfirmed, but officials told the BBC it may be linked to the current renovations on the 850-year-old churchT. The fire appears to have started in the spire of the cathedral, a Notre Dame spokesperson told The New York Times.

No injuries or fatalities have been reported yet at the time of writing. BBC reports that “major operations” are underway to put out the fire and central Paris is being cleared, according to officials. The cathedral has also been evacuated, per the Times.

ABC News reports that the fire began at around 6:50 p.m. local time (around 12:50 p.m. ET) on Monday. Photos and videos of the damage quickly spread on social media, showing tall flames and clouds of smoke emerging from the roof of the cathedral.

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AFP correspondent Patrick Galey posted a Twitter video of a spire toppling off of the cathedral amidst the flames.

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, tweeted about the “terrible fire” at 1:21 p.m. ET, noting that firefighters are trying to quell the flames and that bystanders should respect the security perimeter, according to the Times.

President Emmanuel Macron has reportedly cancelled a national speech today in light of the tragedy, per the BBC.

The Notre Dame cathedral was first built in 1163 and construction was completed in 1345, according to its official website. The Gothic monument, which overlooks the River Seine that runs through Paris, is widely considered an architectural feat, popular tourist attraction, and historic and religious site. Roman Catholic masses are regularly held at the cathedral, and activity is said to be especially busy the days leading up to Easter, which takes place next Sunday.

Notre Dame is no stranger to renovations. After getting considerably damaged through the centuries (especially during the French Revolution), the cathedral underwent expansive restorations in the mid-19th century, according to its website. Another restoration attempt began in 1991 and has gone on for 20 years to clean up its facade.

BBC reports that the current renovations began “after cracks began to appear in the stone, sparking fears the structure could become unstable.”

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This post originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.

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