Social media users, Parisians & tourists watched on with horror & grief as firefighters fought to extinguish a fire ripping through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

France’s 850-year-old landmark set ablaze at around 5.50pm local time on Monday, with fires ripping through the wooden spire, which later collapsed.

Onlookers described the burning, which is now under control, as so severe that it sent a cloud of smoke over Paris and likely to leave “nothing from the frame”, The Guardian reported.

“Everything is burning.”

Notre Dame de Paris Spokesperson

Despite the fire breaking out during opening times, the historic site’s representatives confirmed that there was an immediate evacuation and there have been no deaths or injuries. Police also closed off nearby metro stations.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron assured the public during a media conference that the cathedral was one of importance to the country and one that would be rebuilt.

“A national subscription will be launched and well beyond our boarders, we will apeal to the greatest talent. And there’s many of them who will come to contribute and we will rebuild it. We will rebuild Notre Dame.”

Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic

The fire is said to have gutted part the historic site, although many of its rare and irreplacable relics remain intact thanks to the bravery of French firefighters.

Reports claim that firefighters form a ‘human chain’ to remove priceless pieces including Jesus’ Crown of Thorns and the tunic worn by Saint Louis – the 13th century King of France. These items have been moved to Paris City Hall.

Although it’s too soon to determine the cause of the fire, police have ruled out arson and are looking at a potential connection to restoration work taking place at the bell towers.

Notre Dame de Paris (translated to ‘Our Lady of Paris’) was built during the late 11th century and completed in 1260 when it was considered the “finest example of French Gothic architecture”.

The medieval cathedral was the subject of religious rebellion during the 1970s French Revolution, during which much of its historic imagery was destroyed or damaged.

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