Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Fire

The spire atop the iconic Notre Dame cathedral collapsed amid a devastating fire at the Paris cathedral on Monday, just days before Easter Sunday.

Images and video showed flames and thick plumes of smoke billowing up and around the spire, which is surrounded by scaffolding. Video from the scene showed the flaming spire lean to one side and then collapse amid the smoke.

The fire rapidly spread and took over the iconic cathedral as onlookers nearby scrambled in disbelief to get a view. Seven or eight firetrucks were trying to tackle the flames and the smell of smoke emanated through the air.

The firetrucks were having difficulty getting to the scene amid the daily afternoon rush hour traffic.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the fire brigade is trying to control a “terrible fire” that’s broken out at Notre Dame Cathedral.

On Twitter, Hidalgo said: “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.”

The medieval cathedral was completed in the 13th century and today, with its towers, spire, flying buttresses and stained glass, is considered a feat of architecture as much as a religious symbol. It is one of Paris’ most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 million visitors a year.

It is not known at this time how or why the fire started and there has been no report as of yet on any injuries or casualties.

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