Fire breaks out at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris

A fire broke out at the landmark Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site the fire

Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow brown smoke filling the air above the Cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the centre of Paris.

Reaction from around the world was swift.

"All around the world, all of us feel a certain sadness in our hearts at the thought of the people of Paris losing not only such an astonishing, most lovely cathedral in the world, but their cathedral", Thomas Cardinal Collins said.

"My prayers are for the French people, the diocese of Paris, and everyone who will have to work hard to rebuild an worldwide treasure, eternal and powerful", Castellanos said. He suggested the use of "flying water tankers" on the fragile 12th-century structure and warned France "must act quickly!" "I see no hope for the building", said witness Jacek Poltorak, who was watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern facade of the cathedral, one of France's most visited places. And while viewers around the world watched the disaster unfold, President Donald Trump - for some reason - felt the need to chime in.

"The area around the 850-year-old cathedral is being cleared, a city hall spokesperson said on Twitter", according to the Independent.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says firefighters are trying to contain a "terrible fire".

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Paris police say fighters are inside the cathedral working to put the flames out while others work from the exterior.

■AFP reported that a part of the Ile de La Cite neighborhood where the cathedral is situated, at the heart of Paris, was being evacuated at around 7:30 p.m. local time.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan offered his city's condolences to the French people.

The mammoth fire that destroyed the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral has spread to one of the church's landmark rectangular towers.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has offered her support to the people of France, calling Notre-Dame a "symbol of French and European culture". The ancient monument was undergoing a $6.8m renovation when the blaze started. "We are sending all of our support and strength to the people of Paris-and stand ready to provide any and all resources we can".

The wood and lead spire was built during a restoration in the mid-19th century, according to the cathedral's website.

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