UPDATE, 4/15/2019: French reporter Nicolas Delesalle has tweeted that the Crown of Thorns, the Sacred Hosts and all the works of art at the cathedral have been saved.
Une bonne nouvelle : toutes les œuvres d’art ont été sauvées. Le trésor de la cathédrale est intact, la couronne d’épines, les saints sacrements. #NOTRE_DAME— Nicolas Delesalle (@KoliaDelesalle) April 15, 2019
PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - The Cathedral of Notre Dame is engulfed in flames, and the spire and roof have now collapsed.
A fire broke out at the world-famous cathedral sometime before 7 p.m. local time Monday evening. The roof and spire were consumed in flames, and the burning spire collapsed around 8 p.m. French authorities said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral is burning as well.
Various videos on social media show the flames engulfing the cathedral's high roof and tall spire. Videos also show vast pillars of smoke billowing up, tainting the Paris skyline.
Wow, the spire at the center of the Notre Dame Cathedral has fallen. pic.twitter.com/L8GtIthSlK— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) April 15, 2019
Firefighters arrived on the scene as tourists and Parisians gathered in the streets to watch the iconic 800-year-old cathedral go up in flames.
As the conflagration continued, there were concerns that historic art, relics of saints and other priceless items might be lost in the fire. Catholic convert Sohrab Ahmari said on Twitter, "Lord God, preserve the relic of the Crown of Thorns."
Lord God, preserve the relic of the Crown of Thorns. #NotreDame— Sohrab Ahmari (@SohrabAhmari) April 15, 2019
Photos and video of the fire show a large array of scaffolding around a section of the roof, which has since collapsed.
The cause of the fire is currently unknown. There were renovations happening in the cathedral, and it has been suggested that the fire was caused by some sort of accident tied to the renovation work.
But it is also true that other historic French churches have been vandalized in recent months. Breitbart reported in March that twelve French churches were vandalized in the course of one week.
One report states that a renovation worker at the cathedral claims the fire was set intentionally. That claim has not been verified.
Reporters, locals and others have shared various photos and videos of the burning cathedral on social media.
One onlooker of the fire was overheard saying, "Paris without the cathedral is not Paris anymore."
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter, "A terrible fire is underway at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The fire brigade are trying to control the fire. We are mobilized locally in close connection with church authorities. I ask everyone to respect the security perimeter."
French president Emanuel Macron and prime minister Edouard Philippe arrived at the scene of the fire, CNN reported at 8:46 p.m. local time.
The imposing Gothic cathedral is around 800 years old. Construction began in 1160 and was mostly finished by around 1260.
In addition to being a Catholic cathedral where Mass is offered daily, Notre Dame is also an extremely popular tourist spot owing to its architecture and historical significance.
Although most people's reactions express horror, one video of the fire posted on Facebook received numerous "laugh" reactions from accounts with Muslim names.
A brief summary of who is responding to the tragic Notre Dame fire with 'smiley faces' on Facebook. Appalling. pic.twitter.com/OBANPl9Wpv— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) April 15, 2019