France’s world-famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has been engulfed by a fierce blaze which caused the building’s spire to collapse.
Fires which began in the early evening spread to the roof where the flames attacked the centuries-old spire before it collapsed along with the entire roof.
Despite the horrifying scene witnessed by Parisians, authorities have said that the core structure of the building was “saved from total destruction” and that the damage can be repaired.
Hundreds of firefighters attended the blaze, with one becoming seriously injured while fighting the fire. Approximately two-thirds of the cathedral’s roof has been destroyed.
The initial cause of the blaze was not clear straight away as huge plumes of smoke were watched by stunned onlookers on adjacent streets. Firefighters have so far speculated that the fire was caused by the recent 6 million Euro renovation work being done on the cathedral spire, making use of 227 tonnes of lead.
Mayor of Paris, Anne Hildago, said that the large collection of artwork and holy relics housed inside the cathedral has been rescued from the fire. She added that nearby residents were evacuated in preparation for a potential building collapse.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited the cathedral and pledged to rebuild it, saying the he would seek international assistance to accomplish this end.
The Vatican has responded by saying that it is “praying for firefighters”, while US President Donald Trump suggested that first responders use airborne water drops to put out the blaze. The US President’s recommendation was ignored by French authorities who said that dumping water on top of the structure could hasten its potential collapse.