A colossal fire swept through the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris today, causing a spire to collapse and raising fears over the future of the nearly millenium old building and its precious artworks.
The fire, which began in the early evening, sent flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the Paris sky as stunned Parisians and tourists watched on in sheer horror.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately confirmed but the cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work to help the 850-year-old gothic masterpiece better deal with the tests of time.
The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the cathedral, visited by millions of people a year.
Deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said the spire “collapsed inwards” and that workers were scrambling “to save all the artworks that can be saved.”
A spokesman for the cathedral said that the wooden structure supporting the roof was being gutted by the blaze.