Live: Fire rips through Notre Dame Cathedral
Prime Minister Theresa May said her ‘thoughts are with the people of France’.
A devastating blaze has struck the historic Notre Dame Cathedral.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the fire was a national emergency and promised to rebuild the Paris landmark.
Here’s the latest from the French capital:
Ed Llewellyn, the British ambassador to France, shared his thoughts and a picture on Twitter this morning.
Scores of Parisians had also arrived on the banks of the Seine to view the damage.
Daniel Etieve, 70, told the Press Association: “I saw the flames on the television so this morning when I got up I quickly came here.
“It’s a very sad picture. For over 800 years this cathedral has been passed from generation to generation.
“Now I question what state we will pass it on to the generations after us.
“I hope that what we see from the outside is the worst and it’s mainly the spire and the roof and that the main parts have been protected.”
Ashes from the blaze were scattered along the footpaths of the Seine on Tuesday morning.
Crowds of people had come to view the damage and take pictures, while firefighters could be seen taking a break on the walls around Notre Dame’s gardens.
Windows to the rear of the building were blackened but seemed to be intact.
Firefighters were still hosing the building with water jets.
After almost 12 hours since the start of the blaze, here’s a recap of what we know so far:
– Smoke was seen coming from the building at 5.50pm BST (6.50pm local time)
– By 7.05pm, part of the spire collapsed amid the raging fire
– French president Emmanuel Macron met with police officials at the scene
– The fire that destroyed the spire spread to one of the church’s landmark rectangular towers
– The Paris fire chief said the structure had been saved
– Mr Macron said a fund will be launched to raise money for repairs
World leaders have continued to share their messages of support following the fire.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in said the damage was “a loss for all of us” and called for the world to come together to rebuild the Paris landmark.
Mr Moon said the French people’s “spirit of liberty, equality and fraternity will never be dashed by flames”.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga also expressed his sympathy, saying: “Its damage is a loss to the world and our hearts ache.”
The fire toppled the cathedral’s 300ft spire. This composite image shows its collapse.
And this is the link to a fundraising page posted by France’s Heritage Foundation.
President Emmanuel Macron announced that the French government would set up a public fund to collect donations for the building works.
Here’s his speech to crowds outside Notre Dame.
Here are some more front pages from abroad.
Le Soir carries the headline “Flames and tears”, writing: “With the fire at Notre Dame, more than 800 years of history have gone up in smoke.”
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo shared an image of the relics taken from the cathedral to Paris City Hall for safekeeping.
“The crown of thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place,” she said.
Earlier, former US president Barack Obama posted an old photo of himself, his wife Michelle and their two daughters lighting candles in the cathedral.
Michelle Obama, who was in Paris on Monday on a book tour, later said on Twitter: “My heart aches with the people of France”.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said earlier that most artworks and religious relics were removed from Notre Dame as firefighters worked to control the blaze.
France’s culture minister Franck Riester posted photos on social media of people loading art on to trucks.
12.10am Tuesday April 16
Headlines such as “Disaster” and “Desolation” lead French front pages.
Britain’s newspapers are tweeting their front pages, with startling images of the fire capturing the headlines.
President Emmanuel Macron praised the “courage” and “great professionalism” of firefighters.
Announcing the launch of a fundraising campaign to restore Notre Dame, he said: “The worst has been avoided although the battle is not yet totally won.”
Speaking after visiting the scene of the fire, French President Emmanuel Macron said the blaze was a “terrible tragedy”. He said a fund would be launched on Tuesday to raise money for repairs, adding: “We will rebuild.”
Prosecutors later said they have ruled out arson for now, and do not believe the fire was terror-related.
They said police will conduct an investigation into “involuntary destruction caused by fire”.
Fire commander Jean-Claude Gallet confirmed one firefighter was injured while tackling the blaze.
Mr Gallet said two thirds of Notre Dame’s roofing “has been ravaged”.
He said fire crews will keep working overnight to cool down the structure.
Paris prosecutors have said preliminary investigations indicate the fire was started accidentally.
The Mayor of Paris said people who live near Notre Dame have been evacuated in case of a collapse.
But Anne Hidalgo said firefighters were optimistic they could keep the famous towers from going up in flames.
Ms Hildalgo said the significant collection of artworks and holy objects kept inside the church had been recovered.
The Paris fire chief said the structure of Notre Dame has been saved, and the fire was stopped from spreading to the northern belfry.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has said firefighters are optimistic they can salvage Notre Dame’s main towers from flames.
The Louvre Museum has described the blaze as “a tragedy for World Heritage”.
Parisians gathered to pray and sing hymns outside the church of Saint Julien Les Pauvres across the river from Notre Dame.
Video: What we know so far
An official from France’s Interior Ministry has said 400 firefighters are at the scene of the fire.
Laurent Nunez said the fire is not limited to a certain area and may continue to expand. He added the cause of fire remains unknown.
Donald Trump: Notre Dame blaze a terrible sight to behold
The Vatican has issued a statement, saying: “The Holy See has seen with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.”
The statement said the Vatican is praying for firefighters “and those who are doing everything possible to confront this dramatic situation”.
It also expressed “our closeness to French Catholics and the population of Paris, and we assure our prayers for firefighters”.
The fire chief in Paris has said it is unclear if city firefighters will be able to keep the blaze from spreading and causing more destruction.
Jean-Claude Gallet said firefighters are “not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading” to Notre Dame’s second tower and belfry.
He said: “If it collapses, you can imagine how important the damage will be.”
Watch: Politicians around the world react to the blaze
An official at France’s Interior Ministry has warned firefighters may not be able to save Notre Dame.
Prime Minister Theresa May offered her support.
Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she wishes France strength “as they grieve and rebuild”.
“My heart goes out to Paris,” she tweeted. “Notre Dame is a symbol of our ability as human beings to unite for a higher purpose — to build breathtaking spaces for worship that no one person could have built on their own.
“I wish France strength and shared purpose as they grieve and rebuild.”
The fire that destroyed the spire of Notre Dame has spread to one of the church’s landmark rectangular towers.
Paris police say firefighters have moved inside the cathedral.
British church Westminster Abbey has said it is “devastated for our friends” at Notre Dame.
French President Emmanuel Macron has arrived at the scene of the fire and is meeting police officials.
French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the stunning blaze and was going to the cathedral himself.
He said: “Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
French writer and historian Camille Pascal said the massive fire at Notre Dame has caused “the destruction of invaluable heritage” and “we can be only horrified by what we see”.
First responders are trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.
A spokesman said the entire wooden interior of the Notre Dame is burning and is likely to be destroyed.
A church spokesman told French media that all of Notre Dame Cathedral’s frame is burning after the spire collapsed.
Part of the spire at Notre Dame has collapsed amid a raging fire.
Police in Paris said the cause of the fire remains unknown. No deaths have been reported.
French President Emmanuel Macron has postponed a televised speech to the nation because of the fire, and will head to the scene.
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