Notre Dame cathedral in Paris engulfed in major fire

Flames are seen during a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Ablaze: Notre Dame Catherdal in Paris engulfed in fire

"The area around the 850-year-old cathedral is being cleared, a city hall spokesperson said on Twitter", according to the Independent. We won't know more until the fire dies down and recovery crews are able to investigate the cathedral.

"You would have to think that they would be unbelievably vulnerable to high heat", Berenson said.

The monument last got a major makeover more than 150 years ago, inspired partly by Victor Hugo's description of its decaying state in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame".

The statement says the Vatican is praying for firefighters "and those who are doing everything possible to confront this dramatic situation" on Monday.

Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, right, is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron on his arrival at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 23, 2019.

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"I can't even look at it", the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit writer based in NY, said of the televised images of flames devouring the cathedral's iconic Gothic architecture. He tweeted, "Our Lady of Paris in flames". Hundreds of people lined up bridges around the island that houses the cathedral, watching in shock as acrid smoke rose in plumes.

A center of Roman Catholic faith, over the centuries Notre-Dame has also been a target of political upheaval.

"Notre-Dame belonged to all humanity".

"Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame", Historian Camille Pascal told BFMTV, according to the BBC. When asked to name some of the most significant and historic aspects of the cathedral, Berenson immediately cited the windows, calling them "priceless". French authorities suspect that the fire was somehow started due to this restoration work.

"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 handsome cathedral in the world, but their cathedral", Thomas Cardinal Collins said.

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"Like all of my countrymen, I am sad tonight to see this part of us burn". "My thoughts are with the people of France as a masterpiece of European gothic is at risk of being destroyed".

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is in despair at the "terrible fire".

Paris deputy mayor Emmanuel Gregoire said emergency services are trying to salvage the famed art pieces stored in the cathedral. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out.

Flames that began in the early evening burst through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which collapsed, quickly followed by the entire roof.

Firefighters are battling a massive blaze at the French capital's iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.

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The cause of the blaze isn't yet known, but scaffolding could be seen on the roof of the burning structure.

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