1. Fire engulfs the historic Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Parisians are watching on in horror as a fierce blaze engulfs one of its most iconic landmarks: the Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Firefighters are have been battling to save the 12th Century Gothic building, after the fire broke out in the early afternoon, local time.
The wood and lead spire has collapsed, as has the roof, and flames are now in one of the rectangular towers. A Notre Dame spokesman says the church’s entire wooden interior is in flames.
The cause of the fire unknown at this point, though local authorities are investigating if renovation work on the cathedral’s spire was a factor in starting or spreading the blaze.
— Alexandre Fremont (@alex_fremont) April 15, 2019
The buildings and streets around the cathedral have been evacuated, but thousands of people have gathered in the area, observing the flames in silence. Some could be seen openly weeping, while others sang hymns, the BBC reported.
Deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, says the fire started in the spire, and that first responders are trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.
On Thursday, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning as part of a 6 million-euro ($A9.5 million) renovation, and therefore escaped the blaze.
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019