Fire breaks out at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris

Flames are seen during a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo tweeted, "A bad fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris".

U.S. President Donald Trump expressed horror on Monday at the fire engulfing the historic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Photos and videos of the fire taken by onlookers and circulating on social media offer glimpses of the smoke and flames. The fire may potentially involve renovation works being carried out at the site, the fire service said. The fire may be connected to the recent restoration of the church, officials said.

"Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn", President Emmanuel Macron tweeted.

A spokesman for the cathedral said "nothing will remain" after the blaze is contained. "Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral is now undergoing extensive renovation work". "Emotion of an entire nation".

"Notre Dame is a victim of the flames". "Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames".

Ashley Huntington, 21, an American university student studying in Paris, said: "Our class ran what was supposed to be 30 minutes walking but we probably got here in 20 running". Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out.

Hidalgo said in a Twitter message that Paris firefighters are still trying to limit the fire and urged Paris citizens to respect the security perimeter that has been set around the cathedral.

Flames are shooting out of the roof behind the nave of the 12th cathedral, one of the world's most visited landmarks. The cathedral, located in the heart of Paris, on the Île de la Cité in the middle of the Seine River, welcomes roughly 13 million visitors every year.

This is a developing story. check back for more updates.

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