Updated at 5:25 p.m.: The Associated Press is reporting that the Paris police chief has said the structure of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, burning for more than five hours now, has been saved, and the hundreds of firefighters working to control the fire in the massive structure, have kept the flames from spreading to the northern belfry.
The fire has consumed the upper parts of the 676-year-old church, collapsed the iconic spire and spread to one of the landmark towers at the front of the church. The cathedral's spokesperson, André Finot, told reporters it's unlikely the wooden frame of the church would survive the fire.
The state of the immeasurable collection of priceless relics and artwork is unknown.
The source of the fire remains unknown, but French media is quoting the Paris fire service as saying the blaze is "potentially linked" to renovations the cathedral is currently undergoing.
Onlookers continue to hold a vigil outside the church. In a chilling moment, those eyewitnesses broke into a spontaneous rendition of the "Ave Maria", which was captured by Twitter user @Inaki_Gil.
You can watch and listen below:
Ave Maria pic.twitter.com/lb6Y5XV05a— Ignacio Gil (@Inaki_Gil) April 15, 2019
The historic 676-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most iconic buildings in the world and one of the most iconic Christian churches in the world, is on fire.
Just after 1 p.m. videos began to be posted to social media about smoke billowing from the roof. It didn't take long before flames could be seen shooting from the roof.
This is a developing story.
Firefighters in Paris say there is a fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral. https://t.co/HHUXgZE4x1— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) April 15, 2019