You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Notre-Dame cathedral spire collapses in 'terrible' fire

Sky News logo Sky News 4 days ago Aubrey Allegretti, news reporter

Notre-Dame cathedral’s spire has collapsed in a “terrible” fire, forcing the French president to cancel a major speech.

a factory with smoke coming out of it: The cause of the fire is not yet known © Getty The cause of the fire is not yet known

Flames broke out in the 12th century building at around 6pm BST that devastated the roof and sent thick plumes of black smoke into the sky.

a close up of smoke in front of a building: The cause of the fire is not yet known © Getty The cause of the fire is not yet known

No injuries have been reported and local media say police are treating the blaze as an accident.

a view of a city with smoke coming out of it: The 12th century cathedral's spire has collapsed © Provided by BSkyB SNI Limited The 12th century cathedral's spire has collapsed

A city hall spokesman said the area was being cleared, while the fire department added a major operation was under way.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "so sad tonight to see this part of all of us burn" and extended "thoughts for all the Catholics and all the French".

He will attend the scene to witness the wreckage and has delayed a planned television address designed to counter angry protests in France.

Video filmed by witnesses shows the moment the historic landmark's steeple was consumed in flames and toppled over.

One described people "howling and gasping" as they watched the destruction unfold.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo urged the public to "respect the security perimeter" around the cathedral while firefighters tackle the "terrible" blaze.

The deputy mayor also said Notre-Dame had suffered "colossal damages" and emergency services were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored inside it.

a view of a city: The blaze broke out around 6pm BST. Pic: Twitter/ Shiv Malik © Other The blaze broke out around 6pm BST. Pic: Twitter/ Shiv Malik

Paris prosecutors have opened an investigation into the fire.

British Home Secretary Sajid Javid described pictures from the scene as "heartbreaking", while London Mayor Sadiq declared the city "stands in the heart of Paris, and in friendship always".

The flames sent plumes of smoke into the sky. Pic: Twitter/trafalghar © Other The flames sent plumes of smoke into the sky. Pic: Twitter/trafalghar

The cathedral dates back over 800 years and is famous for featuring in Victor Hugo's classic novel the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

It was in the midst of renovations, with some sections under scaffolding, while bronze statues were removed last week for works.

The attraction is visited by millions of tourists every year.

More on MSN News:

In photos: Notre-Dame fire

More from Sky News

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon