UPDATE: French fire official says that the structure of the cathedral is “saved and preserved,” per AFP. One firefighter was seriously injured while trying to fight the blaze.
The famed and historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, caught fire on Monday, images posted to social media show.
Although the cause has not been confirmed, officials say it could be related to renovation work that is currently ongoing, according to BBC News. Images from the scene show that much of the roof of the building and the spire have collapsed, and the fire has spread to one of the church’s iconic rectangular towers, AP reports. AP adds that the Paris Prosecutor’s Office has launched an inquiry into the fire and are treating it as an accident at this time.
AP reports that “a lot of the artwork” was left inside the building during the evacuation and that workers are trying to salvage as many of the works as they can. A spokesperson for the Notre Dame added that “Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame.”
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, described the blaze as a “terrible fire,” while urging the public to avoid the area as fire crews work to battle it. French President Macron has cancelled a planned address due to the ongoing incident and will be visiting the scene of the fire. He also tweeted in response to the incident, saying, “Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation… I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn”