Notre Dame Cathedral In Paris On Fire, Police Calling It An Accident

Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRAN... Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019, potentially involving renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. (Photo by FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Notre Dame, the 856-year-old iconic cathedral in the heart of Paris, caught fire on Monday, multiple news outlets reported.

Police are telling pedestrians to avoid the area to allow for the passage of emergency vehicles, according to CNN. The fire was not yet under control at the time of publishing.

Police told Reuters the blaze was started by accident, related to ongoing construction work on the building.

Just before 2 p.m. EST witnesses reported the steeple had collapsed into the inside of the church. After the spire fell, church spokesperson told French media that the church’s entire frame was burning, according to AP. 

French President Emmanuel Macron responded to the tragedy on Monday afternoon, not long after the steeple fell.

“I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” he wrote, in French.

President Trump responded to the fire in real time, suggesting that France should employ flying water tankers to put it out.

“Must act quickly!”

First lady Melania Trump posted a more consolatory tweet.

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