Fire tears through Notre Dame
Notre Dame’s spire has collapsed after a fire engulfed the iconic Parisian cathedral on Monday (local time).
With billows of smoke rolling across Paris, onlookers watched in shock as flames that began in the early evening tore through the landmark’s roof, causing the 90 metre spire to collapse.
Despite the severe damage, authorities say the cathedral’s two towers have been protected and that the structure was “saved from total destruction”.
Paris Fire Brigade chief Jean-Claude Gallet said hundreds of firefighters had prevented the flames from spreading to the north tower belfry.
He said one firefighter was seriously injured in the blaze, while two-thirds of Notre Dame’s roofing “has been ravaged”.
Authorities are treating the fire as an accident, according to a preliminary report.
French President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a major televised speech to travel to Notre Dame, where he pledged to rebuild the landmark and said he would seek international assistance to do so.
“Notre Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives,” Mr Macron told reporters in front of the still-burning cathedral.
“Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it.
“So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together.”
In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have extended their sympathy to France, while former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has called on the pair to establish a fund to help restore Notre Dame.
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