A colossal fire swept through the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris on Monday, causing a spire to collapse and raising fears over the future of the almost millennium old building and its precious artworks.
The world reacted with shock, horror and prayers to the massive fire Monday at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, united in grief and in solidarity with the people of France.
"We will rebuild because it is what French people expect, it is what our history deserves".
"Now we need to know how this happened - with everything that's going on in the world, why Notre-Dame?"
"We pray that there will be no injuries, for the fire not to be intentional and for least possible damage to the Church", a statement released in Jerusalem said.
No deaths have been reported to date, and the origin of the fire is unknown, although reports suggest it could be linked to renovations being carried out on the building. Image © Matthew WarnerNotre Dame Cathedral - West Facade portal. One firefighter was seriously injured - the only reported casualty. Firefighters continued working through the night to cool the building and secure the monument, as residual sparks sprinkled down from the gaping hole where the spire used to be.
The fire started at around 6:50pm local time.
Nearby buildings were evacuated as fears mounted that the structure could collapse.
Janega, 46, felt helpless as the monstrous, billowing clouds mushroomed from the top of the cathedral.
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President Donald Trump, 72, suggested using "flying water tankers" to put out the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in a viral tweet on April 15, and it didn't take long for many of his followers to mock his words with various memes and other responses.
"We have been dealt a knockout blow", a stricken-looking Paris Archbishop Michel Aupetit told reporters.
Late Monday, signs pointed to the fire nearing an end as lights could be seen through the windows moving around the front of the cathedral, apparently investigators inspecting the scene.
"Next to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it's so iconic", said John Casbarian, a professor of architecture at Rice University. In a tweet later, she thanked firefighters and others who formed a human chain to save artifacts.
He said that "starting tomorrow", he would launch an worldwide appeal for the restoration of the beloved church.
"It's frightful, it's 800 years of history gone up in smoke", said German tourist Katrin Recke. With the cathedral being a place of worship under the Roman Catholic church, the decorative details revolve around several biblical scenes.
Built over a century starting around the year 1160, historians consider Notre Dame to be among the best examples of French Gothic cathedral architecture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.
Among the most celebrated artworks inside are its three stained-glass rose windows, placed high up on the west, north and south faces of the cathedral. Its priceless treasures also include a relic, the crown of thorns, which is only occasionally displayed, including on Fridays during Lent.
European Council President Donald Tusk sent his condolences to the people of Paris. "You can feel it in the stone, in those monuments".
United States president Donald Trump caused consternation after suggesting the fire could be extinguished with "flying water tankers".