Massive Fire at Famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Officials in Paris, France say the famed Notre Dame Cathedral, an iconic symbol of the history of Paris caught on fire earlier today causing the spire and part of the roof to collapse, authorities said.

The cause of Monday's fire, which broke out around 6:30 p.m. local time, was not immediately known, but officials tell the BBC that the blaze may have been related to renovation work currently underway. The 850-year-old cathedral is located in the middle of the River Seine in the heart of Paris.

"Notre Dame Fire in progress. Avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention of the @prefpolice," a tweet from Paris police said announcing the blaze.

No one has been injured or killed in the blaze, authorities said, even as the more than 400 firefighters deployed are struggling to contain it.

"A terrible fire is happening right now at the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral," tweeted Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris. "The firefighters of Paris are trying to control the flames. We are mobilized on the ground, in close collaboration with the Paris diocese. I urge everyone to respect the security perimeter."

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told BFMTV that first responders now trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.

French Interior Minister said that "exceptional measures" are being taken to try and save the historic cathedral.

"Support and solidarity with @PompiersParis (fire brigade) mobilized to save our common heritage, in the heart of Paris. An exceptional force was deployed by the @prefpolice (Paris police) to neutralize this violent fire. I share the immense emotion of the Parisians," Castaner tweeted.

The medieval castle was completed in the 13th century and is one of the most popular attractions in Paris for tourists. More than 13 million people visit the structure every year. The landmark is a big part of the city's identity with many residents there expressing their grief at the loss of the historic Gothic building.

Thousands of tourists and residents stood on the banks of the Seine River, watching the wooden roof of the Notre Dame burn. Video taken by onlookers and posted to social media showed the smoke and flames as it billowed out of the top of the cathedral.

President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter, suggesting that flying water tankers could help put the fire out.

"So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"

This is a breaking news alert. More details will be added as they become available.

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