The roof of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral collapsed as a massive fire ripped through the structure on Monday, days before Easter.
Firefighters at the scene say all efforts are being directed towards saving the artwork stored at the back of the cathedral, which had been undergoing renovations and preventing the collapse of its northern tower.
As of Monday afternoon, the spire of the cathedral had fallen, and the fire had spread to one of its iconic rectangular towers. Firefighters may not be able to save the cathedral, according to a French Interior Ministry official.
A spokesperson for the Paris Fire Department said just before 4 p.m. in New York that the next hour and a half would be “crucial” in order to see whether the fire can be contained.
Paris Mayor Anne Hildago and firefighters warned people to stay away from the area.
There have been no confirmed deaths, according to Paris police, and a French government official said no injuries had yet been reported. Four hundred firefighters are working to put out the blaze, according to the Ministry of the Interior for France.
The area surrounding the cathedral, Paris’ Ile de la Cite, was in the process of being evacuated, according to Reuters.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the fire, though local media reported that police in the city were treating it as an accident. The Paris Prosecutor’s office announced that it has started an inquiry into the fire.
The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo’s classic novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” attracts millions of tourists every year.-cnbc.com