France's Macron speaks with firefighters at scene of Notre Dame Cathedral blaze

Ablaze: Notre Dame Catherdal in Paris engulfed in fire

The construction of Notre Dame - which means "Our Lady" - began in 1160 and was mostly completed a hundred years later in 1260.

It's bad news for anyone who values history, loves Paris, or read Victor Hugo: Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Gothic gem at the historic center of Paris, is on fire.

He said: "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out", adding: "Must act quickly!" Video posted to social media shows the 750-ton spire that stood atop the cathedral collapse as the roof burns. Authorities say the wooden interior now is burning.

View from the top of the Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral with the Eiffel Tower in background as the religious statues descend to earth for the first time in over a century as part of a restoration, in Paris Thursday, April 11, 2019.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of NY tweeted Monday that he prayed for the "splendid house of prayer" to be preserved from another landmark gothic cathedral: St. Patrick's.

The cathedral was evacuated when the fire alarm was activated around 6.30pm, according to André Finot, a spokesman for Notre Dame.

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

■The fire's cause is unknown, reported Agence France-Presse.

"These disgusting images of Notre-Dame on fire are painful", Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Twitter. The police department didn't say anything about injuries. "Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral is now undergoing extensive renovation work".

Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is on fire this evening, with the blaze's origin believed to be linked to renovation works ongoing in the iconic building in France.

The wood and lead spire was built during a restoration in the mid-19th century, according to the cathedral's website.

President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a speech to the nation and was on his way to the scene.

'Notre Dame is perhaps one of the most handsome buildings I have ever set foot in, and watching it burn down is absolutely soul crushing, ' read one Twitter post.

The French Gothic-style cathedral is located on an island in the center of Paris called the Île de la Cité, which is surrounded by the River Seine.

The 12th Century building, immortalized in the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was undergoing renovation work due to "deterioration of structural elements".

It is unclear whether anyone has been hurt.

French President Emmanuel Macron also issued a statement as the building continued to burn.

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