A Notre Dame Cathedral spokesperson said Monday that the building’s entire wooden interior has caught fire and is expected to completely destroyed.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Andre Finot, a press representative for the 12th-century cathedral, told French reporters, according to the Associated Press.
A massive fire engulfed the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of the French capital Monday, toppling its spire and sending thick plumes of smoke high into the blue sky as tourists and Parisians looked on aghast from the streets below.
Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris pic.twitter.com/Ei1ZraqH63
— AFP news agency (@AFP) April 15, 2019
— ABC News (@ABC) April 15, 2019
The cause of the catastrophic blaze was not known, but French media quoted the Paris fire brigade as saying the fire is “potentially linked” to a $6.8 million renovation project on the church’s spire and its 250 tons of lead. Paris police said there were no reported deaths.
Flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world. Sights of the flames stopped passers-by in their tracks along the Seine River that passes beneath the cathedral.
French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself. “My thoughts are with all Catholics and all French people. Like all of our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of us burning,” he said of the fire.
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
President Donald Trump also weighed in on the blaze, writing on social media: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.” Later, speaking at a tax reform event in Minnesota, the president said the scene from Paris was a “terrible sight to behold.”
“That is beyond countries, that’s beyond anything. That’s a part of our growing up, it’s a part of the culture. It’s a part of our lives,” he added.
According to NBC, Paris’ chief prosecutor has launched an investigation to determine what caused the fire.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.