Notre-Dame blaze: Main structure and towers of iconic cathedral 'saved' after spire and roof collapse

French firefighters have won an hours-long battle to save the main structure of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, after a colossal fire caused the spire of the historic edifice to crash to the ground and wiped out centuries of heritage.

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that "we will rebuild" Notre-Dame and expressed relief that "the worst had been avoided" in a fire that risked bringing the entire edifice down.

The fire destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark, whose spectacular Gothic spire collapsed before the eyes of horrified onlookers.

The fire, which came as Catholics prepare to celebrate Easter, sent orange flames and clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky as stunned Parisians and tourists watched on in horror.

As darkness fell, some 400 firefighters then battled to control the fire and save at least its iconic front towers. They finally gained the upper hand as midnight approached and, after burning for about 8 hours, the fire was largely extinguished by 3am on Tuesday.

Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said "we can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved" as well as the two towers.

"This is really sad - the saddest thing I've ever stood and watched in my life," said British tourist Sam Ogden, a 50-year-old onlooker, who had come to visit the cathedral with her family.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately confirmed. The cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work which the fire service said could be linked to the blaze.

French prosecutors said the blaze was being treated as an "involuntary" fire, indicating that foul play was ruled out for now.

Last week, dramatic footage had shown workers removing 16 copper statues from the spire which was undergoing a revamp financed by the state and private donors.

Deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told the channel that workers were scrambling "to save all the artworks that can be saved."

Visibly emotional, Mr Macron said while the "worst had been avoided" and the facade and two towers saved "the next hours will be difficult".

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said he felt a "sadness beyond words" but added the fire services "were still fighting... heroically, to save what can be saved".


Christians sing prayers for burning Notre Dame



'Fire not totally extinguished'

French junior interior minister Laurent Nunez has just given a news conference, in which he said the cause of the fire was still not known.

Authorities were continuing their probe into how it started, he  said.

"The fire is under control but not totally extinguished," Nunez added, speaking just outside Notre-Dame.

Firefighters spray water as they work to extinguish a fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris early on Tuesday - Credit: AFP
Firefighters spray water as they work to extinguish a fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris early on Tuesday Credit: AFP



What were the key artefacts in the cathedral?

Notre Dame, a survivor of wars and revolutions, has stood for centuries as not merely the greatest of the Gothic cathedrals and a towering jewel of Western architecture.

It has stood, in the words of one shell-shocked art expert, as "one of the great monuments to the best of civilisation."

Here's a look at some of the key artefacts linked to the landmark.



Billionaires pledge 100m euros

French billionaires the Pinault family have reportedly pledged more than €100 million (£86 million) to help restore the 800-year-old cathedral.

Francois-Henri Pinault, who is married to actress Salma Hayek, is quoted in the French media as saying he and his father, Francois, had decided to donate the money to help with the "complete reconstruction" of Notre Dame.

The younger Mr Pinault is chief executive of international luxury group Kering, which owns brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, and is the president of French holding company Groupe Artemis, which owns the Christie's auction house.

Firefighters continue to tackle the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral  - Credit: Getty
Firefighters continue to tackle the fire at the Notre Dame cathedral Credit: Getty



Fire is 'completely under control'

A huge fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral is "under control", the Paris fire brigade said early on Tuesday.

"The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out," said spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus.


Global fundraising effort begins

A fund-raising appeals have been launched around the world, as people began making commitments to restore the cathedral - even before the flames were extinguished.

Reuters reports that the New York-based French Heritage Society and the Go Fund Me crowdsourcing platform were among the first to offer help for the landmark.

The French Heritage Society, an American non-profit group dedicated to preserving French architectural and cultural treasures, launched a web page to raise money for the cathedral's restoration.

"Notre-Dame is obviously an architectural marvel and most certainly a monument that should be restored," Jennifer Herlein, the executive director of the society, said.

Eventually, the funds raised will go directly to the cathedral, she said.

The organisation, which was founded in 1982, gave two grants last year totalling more than $430,000 (£328,000) for restoration projects at France's national library, she said.

At the website GoFundMe, more than 50 campaigns related to the cathedral fire had been launched globally on Monday, John Coventry, a spokesman for Go Fund Me, said.

"In the coming hours we'll be working with the authorities to find the best way of making sure funds get to the place where they will do the most good," Coventry said.

It comes after French President Emmanuel Macron said an international campaign would be launched to raise funds for the rebuilding of Notre-Dame Cathedral.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte Macron pay a visit to firemen fighting against a fire burning the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral - Credit: Rex
French President Emmanuel Macron (C) and his wife Brigitte Macron pay a visit to firemen fighting against a fire burning the roof of the Notre-Dame cathedral Credit: Rex



Some of the priceless artefacts saved

The relic of the crown of thorns and a number of priceless artefacts were taken from the cathedral to Paris City Hall for safekeeping.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo shared an image of the objects on Twitter.

"The crown of thorns, the tunic of Saint Louis and several other major works are now in a safe place," she said.



Michelle Obama's 'heart aches' during Paris visit

The former First Lady, who is currently in Paris, has given her reaction to the disaster.



Video from inside

A reporter for Le Figaro also took a video of the inside of the building.



'Sparks spilling down from cathedral's vaulted ceilings'

An Associated Pres reporter has entered the building and seen some of the devastation caused by the blaze.

A hole left by Notre Dame's fallen spire is still burning and sparks are spilling down from the cathedral's vaulted ceilings more than five hours a fire broke out near the top of the Gothic landmark in Paris.

No lights were on, but the simmering red hole from the fallen spire provided illumination. Streams of sparks rained from the gap onto the floor where the church choir usually stands during services.

The huge hole in Notre-Dame's roof - Credit: Rex
The huge hole in Notre-Dame's roof Credit: Rex

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said earlier that most artworks and religious relics were removed from Notre Dame as firefighters worked to control the blaze.

France's culture minister posted photos on social media of people loading art onto trucks.


Inside the cathedral

An image of the altar inside the landmark amid smouldering scenes.

Inside Notre-Dame amid the ashes - Credit: Rex
Inside Notre-Dame amid the ashes Credit: Rex



The Telegraph's front page

The Daily Telegraph
The Daily Telegraph



Pictures emerge from inside Notre-Dame

The first images are emerging of the inside of the cathedral.

General view of the interior of the Notre-Dame Cathedral as flames burn the roof - Credit: Rex
General view of the interior of the Notre-Dame Cathedral as flames burn the roof Credit: Rex
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral  - Credit: Reuters
Flames and smoke are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral Credit: Reuters



Macron: The fire will go on for several days

More from Mr Macron speaking outside the cathedral.

He said: "The fire will go on for several days. I would like to thank the firefighters on behalf of the nation.

"At this time, the worst has been avoided. Even if the building hasn't been completely destroyed, the next few hours will be difficult, but thanks to the efforts of so many, the facade has been saved.

"Tomorrow a national subscription will be launched for people around the country to help rebuild this great Notre-Dame."


Macron: 'It is our destiny' to rebuild


Emmanuel Macron: 'We will rebuild Notre-Dame'

Speaking outside the ravaged cathedral Mr Macron thanked the "extreme courage and professionalism" of the more than 500 firefighters who battled the flames

He said: "Notre-Dame is our history, our literature. It is the epicentre of our life, it is the gold standard. It is so many books, paintings. It is the cathedral of all the French people even those who have never visited. This is our history.

"We will put out an appeal for the greatest talents and we will rebuild Notre-Dame because that is what the French people expect, because that is what our history deserves, because that is our profound destiny"

He announced the launch of a national fundraising efforts to this end.


Visitors were inside the cathedral when blaze started

David Chazan in Paris writes:

Javier Chavez , a visitor, was inside the cathedral when the fire started.

He said: “They took everyone out. We were very very scared and very sad. Thousands of people were crying.”

Mr Chavez added that it took the fire brigade “at least half an hour” to reach the scene.


Arson ruled out

The Paris prosecutors' office said investigators are treating the blaze as an accident for now.

They have ruled out arson, including possible terror-related motives.

Prosecutors said Paris police will conduct an investigation into "involuntary destruction caused by fire."


Main structure and towers of Notre-Dame 'saved'

The main structure of the cathedral has been saved, the city's top fire official said late Monday.

"We can consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved," Paris fire brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters outside the cathedral, adding it appeared that the two main towers of the building had now been saved.

Two-thirds of Notre-Dame's roofing "has been ravaged." He said one firefighter was injured.

The main task now was to cool the temperature inside the cathedral, a procedure that would take several hours.

Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez, also present at the scene, said that for the first time "the fire had decreased in intensity" while still urging "extreme caution".

He defended the fact that water-bombing planes had not been used, as urged in a tweet notably by US President Donald Trump, saying that such action would have posed a "major danger" for the structure.


Notre-Dame 'will be rebuilt'

David Chazan reports from Paris:

Three-and-a-half hours after the fire started, flames could still be seen in the core of the building and firefighters continued to spray water on the blaze.

Emmanuel Grégoire, deputy mayor of Paris, said: “It’s too early to say with certainty what caused the fire. There will be an inquiry, but one thing you can be sure of is that Notre-Dame will be rebuilt.”

Denise Charensol, a local resident contacted by telephone, said: “I can see the flames from my balcony and it feels like a nightmare, not a reality. Just as the cathedral was being restored, this happens. This is where the children in my family were baptised. We’re afraid that the rest of the structure will collapse.”

Christine Moreau, another resident, broke into tears.

She said: “It’s tragic. I can’t believe this is happening. Notre-Dame is part of the heart of Paris and part of our hearts too. Why couldn’t more have been done to put out the blaze?”


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Melania Trump: 'My heart breaks for the people of Paris'



We love you Notre-Dame

This about sums up the reaction on social media as people from around the world share their memories of visiting the cathedral



An aerial view of the collapsed roof



Barack Obama mourns the loss of 'one of the world's great treasures'



Gasps as Donald Trump talks about the scale of the fire



Vatican offers prayers for firefighters

The Vatican has issued a statement about the "terrible fire" that has "devastated" Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The Vatican said: "The Holy See has seen with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world."

The statement says the Vatican is praying for firefighters "and those who are doing everything possible to confront this dramatic situation" on Monday.

It also expressed "our closeness to French Catholics and the population of Paris, and we assure our prayers for firefighters


The front page of tomorrow's Le Figaro



Archbishop of Canterbury: "Nous sommes avec vous'

Justin Welby tweets:



French fire services say they are 'not sure' cathedral can be saved

A French Interior Ministry official said the same.


Firefighter explains how roof has been "surrendered" in bid to save the walls

US firefighter Gregg Favre has explained how Notre Dame’s roof would be “surrendered” by firefighters in a bid to stop the fire spreading, Camilla Tominey writes.

The former St. Louis firefighter, who was deputy director of the Missouri department of safety, likened the images of Notre Dame to a 2016 fire which destroyed the Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava Fire in New York City.

In a Twitter thread which went viral he explained how the church’s heavy timber construction was problematic due to its large open spaces and fire stops.

“A firestop is a passive fire protection system made up of various components and used to seal openings in buildings," he wrote.

“If the fire started high on the structure, there is a chance that Paris Fire can save the walls and unimpinged areas of the Cathedral.

“But the roof has basically been surrendered at this point. The peak, the lack of access and fire spread means almost certain loss."



Parisians gather to sing as the cathedral burns



More footage of the fire



Theresa May says her thoughts are with the people of France

The Prime Minister said: "My thoughts are with the people of France  tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral."



Emmanuel Macron treating fire as a national emergency

Mr Macron is treating the fire gutting Notre Dame Cathedral as a national emergency.

Macron reached the landmark cathedral on Monday evening and went straight into meetings at the nearby Paris police headquarters.

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


Donald Trump says it's a 'terrible sight to behold'

The US president told a crowd in Minnesota: “It looks like its burning very badly, it looks like it’s burning to the ground.

"There’s probably no cathedral in the world like it. It’s a terrible sight to behold."

The crowd gasped.


Residents' heartbreak over fire

Christine Moreau, a local resident, broke into tears as she described her horror when she saw smoke and flames coming from the roof of the magnificent Gothic cathedral, whose construction began 850 years ago.

“It’s tragic. I can’t believe this is happening. Notre Dame is part of the heart of Paris and part of our hearts too. Why couldn’t more have been done to put out the blaze?”

Some in the crowd around the cathedral were angry that helicopters or planes had not been brought in to spray the flames from above, as advocated by Donald Trump in a tweet.

The Paris fire brigade tweeted in response: “Dropping water on this type of building could cause the entire structure to collapse.”


Fire spotted in Notre Dame tower

Eyewitnesses say a fire can be seen inside one of the stone towers of Notre Dame.


400 firefighters at Notre Dame

That's according to the French interior ministry, which has tweeted the following images of them at work.



Water planes not used amid safety concerns

French police say water planes were not used to douse the flames due to safety concerns, according to Le Monde.


Fire started five minutes after cathedral closed

A cathedral official said the entire wooden structure was burning and little would be saved.

It was also unclear how many of the art works inside the cathedral have been rescued.

The fire broke out about five minutes after the cathedral closed to the public for the day, but witnesses reported that people came streaming out after the blaze began.


Gallery: Notre Drame fire

You can view a picture gallery of the most striking images of the fire here.


US counter-terror unit's unusual response to fire

An American counter-terrorism unit said it was closely monitoring the fire earlier. However, there is no suggestion at this stage of any terror links.



Fire appears under control

Live footage of the scene suggests that the flames have now been extinguished, as night falls on the French capital.




More footage of spire collapse



Image shows scale of damage to cathedral




Macron arrives at scene of fire

In this picture you can see the French president arriving at the scene of the fire.



Flames 'appear to be dying down'

As the flames appeared to be dying down, Christopher Brennan, a visitor near the scene, said: “People are very upset. Notre-Dame is part of the cultural heritage of the city.”

Michel Dupont, a local resident, said people were upset that helicopters had not been deployed to spray water at the flames high in the cathedral. “A lot of us are asking questions about the authorities’ reponse,” he said.

Bertrand Delanoë, a former mayor of Paris, said: “The authorities are doing everything they can.”


'Colossal damages'

The deputy mayor of Paris says Notre Dame Cathedral has suffered "colossal damages" from a fire that started in the spire and caused it to collapse.

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

A cathedral spokesman has said the entire wooden interior of the Notre Dame is burning and likely to be destroyed.


Sadiq Khan says London stands with Paris

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has said the British capital "stands in sorrow with Paris."



Penny Mordaunt heartbroken by fire

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said the fire was "heartbreaking".

She said: "Heartbreaking to see £NotreDame ablaze. Praying no one hurt."



Pictured: Firefighters attempt to save artwork

A picture has emerged of French firefighters attempting to take works of art in the cathedral to safety.



Notre Dame fact file



Emergency workers attempting to salvage artwork

Paris emergency services now trying to salvage the artwork stored in Notre Dame Cathedral from the huge fire, according to French media reports.


'No injuries or deaths'

French police say there have been no injuries or deaths linked to the fire so far.


Prosecutors investigate fire

The Parisian prosecutor's office says it has launched an inquiry into the fire.


Tourists evacuated

Jim Rogers, an American tourist at the scene, said he had been asked to leave the square in front of the cathedral soon after the fire began.

“People were evacuated, they were streaming out the cathedral and there was ash and cinders coming down nearby.”

The cathedral istelf and nearby residential and commercial buildings were evacuated, officials said as parts of the cathedral fell to the ground.


Firefighters battle with huge flames

Images of the scene show firefighters attempting to douse the edifice of Notre Dame cathedral.




Macron 'sad to see a part of us all in flames'

Emmanuel Macron has spoken of his sadness at seeing the cathedral go up in flames:



'No deaths' reported since fire

French police say no deaths have been reported so far, but did not give details on whether anyone has been injured.


EU chief mourns demise of cathedral spire

Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament's Brexit co-ordinator, has tweeted:



Macron to visit scene of fire

A spokesman for President Macron says he is en route to the scene of the fire.


Officials say they are trying to preserve cathedral structure

As flames appeared to be spreading rapidly through one of the most visited buildings in the world, Emmanuel Grégoire, a deputy mayor, said: “The emergency services are trying to secure the structure and prevent any collapse as well as saving works of art inside the cathedral.


More footage of fire from eyewitnesses



Video: Notre Dame cathedral spire collapses



Roof frame of Notre-Dame 'is going up in flames'

A spokesman for the cathedral has said the roof frame is "going up in flames," as eyewitnesses say the fire appears to be getting worse. Firefighters are are the scene.


Donald Trump expresses sadness at fire



Notre Dame - a brief history

Notre Dame Cathedral, whose construction started in 1163, is the most visited monument in France, with an average of 30,000 people per day.

It is justifiably famous for its magnificent facade, but the interior boasts unique carvings, statuary and stained-glass windows whose rose windows are some of the biggest in Europe.

The church also houses numerous treasures belonging to figures including the French King Louis IX, or Saint Louis the architect Viollet-Le-Duc and Pope John-Paul II.

The most precious treasure, the Crown of Thorns, is housed in Notre Dame'sm one of three holy artifacts along with the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails from the crucifixion.


Minister en route to cathedral

Laurent Nunez, the deputy interior minister, was on the way to the 850-year-old Gothic cathedral.


French mayor: Terrible 'fire' is being dealt with

In a tweet, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said the fire was "terrible" and that fire fighters were on the scene dealing with it.



More eyewitness footage of burning cathedral



Renovation work was underway at Notre Dame

Police sources have told French media that the fire is an accident linked to renovation works.

The cathedral has for some time been in a state of ill repair. Besides the main western entrance, which was recently restored, large cracks have appeared across the facade and the supporting structure holding up the cathedral’s beautiful stained-glass windows could collapse in the event of a storm.

The lead that protects the wooden spire from the elements, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century, has fallen into disrepair, and because of water damage to the wooden structure beneath, is structurally compromised.