Notre-Dame cathedral on fire in Paris

Ablaze: Notre Dame Catherdal in Paris engulfed in fire

On Monday, footage captured a massive fire atop Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris's most famous building.

The cathedral construction began in 1160 and largely completed by 1260. French media quoted the Paris fire brigade saving the fire is "potentially linked" to a $6.8 million renovation project on the church's spire and its 250 tons of lead.

President Emmanuel Macron said the whole nation was moved.

A spokesperson for the cathedral said the blaze was first reported at 4.50am (NZT) (5.50pm GMT) and the building was evacuated soon after. We are mobilized on site in close connection with the Diocese of Paris. The cathedral was undergoing repairs, as its roof and spire were in scaffolding.

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A spokesman said the blaze was likely to bring the entire wooden frame of the cathedral down, and the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.

Notre Dame is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Paris, drawing an estimated 12 million people each year, according to Paris Digest.

Donald Trump has also taken the time to weigh in via Twitter.

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As it stands, the fire has already all but destroyed the roof, and the spire has collapsed into the building.

The iconic building in the center of the city is the most visited monument in Paris, with more than 12 million visitors a year - almost double the people who visit Eiffel Tower.

A major operation is underway, Paris authorities have said, while a city hall spokesman said on Twitter that the area was being cleared.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo described it as a "terrible fire" and urged people at the scene to stay safe. Construction workers had removed numerous bronze statues inside the church before the fire for renovation, which included work on the now-destroyed spire.

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He said: "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out", adding: "Must act quickly!"

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