Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris On Fire

(screen capture/NBC News)

UPDATE – USA Today reports that “nothing will remain” after the devastating fire. There is still an ongoing effort to save works of art.

The fire burned for hours, virtually unabated despite the efforts of hundreds of firefighters. The flames continued to glow when darkness fell. “A special mission has been launched to try to save all works of art that can be saved,” Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy to the mayor of Paris, said on French TV.

“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The cause was not immediately known, but officials said it could be linked to renovation work. The cathedral is in the midst of a $6.8 million renovation project.

French historian Camille Pascal told French TV the fire was destroying “invaluable heritage.” “It’s been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris,” Pascal said. “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame.”

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From NBC News:

Flames were spotted shooting from the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Monday.

Smoke was billowing from the structure and could be seen from miles away in the French capital.

The flames appeared to be around scaffolding at the top of the famous church, where renovations were being done.

“A terrible fire is underway at Notre Dame Cathedral,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted. She called on Parisians to stay away from the area to allow firefighters to do their work.