Notre Dame fire: major incident at historic Paris landmark | World news | The Guardian
Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has been devastated by a ferocious blaze that has destroyed the spire of the centuries-old landmark.
Firefighters were rushing to try to contain a fire that has broken out at the cathedral, which police said began accidentally and was linked to building work at the site.
Flames burst through the roof of the cathedral – one of France’s most visited places – and quickly engulfed the spire, which collapsed.
Smoke could be seen billowing from the top of the medieval cathedral, considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France and one of Paris’s most-visited monuments. A huge plume of smoke wafted across the city and ash fell over a large area.
Flames leapt into the air beside the two bell towers, said a Reuters correspondent who witnessed the fire.
The fire department said a major operation was under way. A city hall spokesman said the area was being cleared.
Emmanuel Macron cancelled a planned speech to the nation in light of the “terrible fire”, according to an official at the president’s Élysée office.
The Paris mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said on Twitter that firefighters were still trying to contain the fire and urged residents to stay away from the security perimeter.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Smoke and flames rise during the fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Photograph: François Guillot/AFP/Getty Images
France 2 television reported that police were treating the incident as an accident.
The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, attracts millions of tourists every year.
Notre Dame was in the midst of renovations , with some sections under scaffolding, and bronze statues were removed last week for works.