Huge Fire Breaks Out At Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is on fire.@StockBoardAsset/Twitter

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris in on fire, with Parisians taking to social media to share devastating photographs of the historic building engulfed in flames.

Smoke and fire can be seen billowing from the upper part of the iconic cathedral, which is the most visted monument in the city of Paris.

The fire appears to be substantial, with heartbroken witnesses describing ash falling from the religious building and flames rising from between the two bell towers.

The area surrounding the gothic cathedral is reportedly being cleared, according to a spokesperson from the police department.

First deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Grégoire, has tweeted:

Important fire underway at Notre Dame, we must stay away and evacuate the area and let the rescue intervene.

A tweet from the Parisian police read:

Our Lady of # Paris I Fire in progress. Avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention.

Notre Dame Cathedral has stood since 1260, having been modified in the centuries since. It has provided inspiration for writers such as Victor Hugo and is one of the most culturally significant and instantly recognisable buildings in the world.

The gravity of this situation is not yet understood. A spokesperson from the fire department has described the fire as having begun on the afternoon of April 15, and there is now a major operation under way.

There is no word as of yet as to what started the fire. It is understood that scaffolding was recently erected around the building, with renovation work having been underway.

Our thoughts are with the people of Paris as they watch flames leap from this beautiful and irreplaceable building.

This is a breaking news story. More updates are due to follow once more information is available.

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