Crowds gather as major fire hits Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral

Renovations had been underway at the cathedral

"Like all our countrymen, I'm sad tonight to see this part of us burn", French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement.

"Notre Dame is not a building, she's an old lady that we come and say "hello" to and pay homage", he said.

Officials have reported that one firefighter suffered serious injuries while combating the blaze.

A major fire has broken out at the historic French Notre Dame Cathedral immortalized in literature and film. "My thoughts are with Parisians today and the firefighters who fight the flames".

Arson and terror-related motives have been ruled out by French law enforcement officials, who are treating the fire as an accident.

France's civil security agency says "all means" except for water-dropping aircraft were deployed to tackle the blaze.

An AP reporter at the scene of Monday's fire says the roof at the back of the cathedral, behind the nave, is in flames and yellow-brown smoke and ash fill the sky.

Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world.

Paris' Notre Dame Cathedral, which caught fire on Monday, had reached a "tipping point" and required an expensive makeover after deteriorating for years, experts had previously warned.

Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media: "Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame".

A center of Roman Catholic faith, over the centuries Notre-Dame has also been a target of political upheaval.

On Thursday, 16 religious statues were removed from the peak for the first time in over a century to be taken for cleaning and therefore escaped the blaze.

As well as working desperately to put out the fire, Paris emergency services are also trying to salvage the artwork stored within the cathedral. The cathedral was undergoing a $6.8 million renovation when the fire broke out, according to the Associated Press.

French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saying the blaze is "potentially linked" to a 6 million euro (£5.1 million) renovation project on the church's spire and its 250 tons of lead.

During an economic roundtable, President Trump said, "a awful sight to behold".

"It's a part of our culture, it's a part of our lives".

Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral.

She walked by the cathedral Monday morning, on her way to Shakespeare and Company, the famous English-language bookstore located within eyeshot of Notre-Dame.

Both the spire and roof of the cathedral have completely collapsed, and the fire has spread to one of the building's square towers.

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