Fear of Notre Dame Cathedral collapsing in fire

Published: Apr. 15, 2019 at 11:40 AM MDT
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The fire chief in Paris says it's unclear if city firefighters will be able to keep a fire at Notre Dame from spreading and causing more destruction.

Fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said outside the iconic cathedral as his crews battled the blaze from both the exterior and interior: "We are not sure we are capable of stopping the spreading" to Notre Dame's second tower and belfry.

Gallet said: "If it collapses, you can imagine how important the damage will be."

Flames already have reached one of Notre Dame's towers and brought down the church spire that extended 96-meters-high (315-feet.

Original story

Firefighters are battling a massive blaze at the French capital's iconic Notre Dame Cathedral.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo says firefighters are trying to contain a "terrible fire" at the cathedral.

Paris police say the cause of a massive fire at Notre Dame is unknown, and no deaths have been reported yet.

An AP reporter at the scene of Monday's fire says the roof at the back of the cathedral, behind the nave, is in flames and yellow-brown smoke and ash fill the sky.

The sight stopped pedestrians in their tracks along the Seine River, which passes under the cathedral.

Hidalgo urged residents of the French capital to stay away from the security perimeter around the Gothic-style church. The mayor says city officials are in touch with Roman Catholic diocese in Paris.

The peak of the church is undergoing a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project.

French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saying the fire is "potentially linked" to the renovation work.

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