Update: 4:45 p.m. EST
Firefighters are working their way inward and rescue operations are underway to save as much art and artifacts from the burning cathedral.
According to NBC News, the church was closed for tourists when the fire started, so if anyone was inside it would be clergymen and possibly construction workers near the once-standing spire.
France’s most iconic church has stood for more than 800 years, and was undergoing a major renovation project to replace much of the rotted wood that held up the structure.
A spokesman told NPR that Notre Dame’s wooden interior was burning and the entire frame was likely to be destoryed. They also didn’t sound hopeful that the cathedral could be saved.
Fire official said they would know the extent of the damage by roughly 9 p.m. EST, that’s assuming they can get the flames under control and put out.
People near and on the street described being covered in an ‘ashy rain’ as the smoke billowed out into the air.
Again there are no reports of injuries or deaths at this time, but this is a developing story.
Update 2:17 p.m. EST
Bloomberg reports that Notre Dame’s Cathedral’s frame is burning after the spire collapsed.
Firefighters are on the ground and trying to control the flames as they work towards the center of the church.
Update 1:58 p.m. EST
According to NBC News the spiral that stands 226 feet high has collapsed due to the fire.
That spiral has been a major part of a massive restoration project that’s been ongoing for the last year.
The only people in that portion of the church would have been construction workers.
Heavy smoke and flames can be seen billowing and shooting out of Notre Dame cathedral in downtown Paris Monday afternoon.
According to CNBC, firefighters and other emergency responders are en route to clear the scene and put out the flames.
Reports are calling this a major operation.
Officials are calling for people to stay away from the area.
This is a developing story.
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