Firefighters battle to save Notre-Dame from devastating fire

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Fire spread rapidly through a major portion of the magnificent Gothic cathedral at the heart of Paris, causing a spire to collapse and raising fears for the building.

Silva now says it will be hard to shake the somber mood of their first day in Paris.

Gabriel Plus said that emergency services are now "surveying the movement of the structures and extinguishing smouldering residues".

Wayne McPartland, a retired New York City Fire Department battalion chief, told CNBC that doing something similar to Trump's plan would collapse the historic building.

The fire, just days before Easter, was met with horror by Parisians and tourists.

The broadcaster says around 400 firefighters are working to contain the flames. They finally gained the upper hand as midnight approached. Before Monday's fire Notre Dame renovations were expected to cost $185 million.

"Last January, I looked out over the Parisian skyline, all the more beautified by the cathedral's spire", he added. We never thought it could burn.

"A bartender said the Notre Dame is on fire, so I left and saw this frightful picture", he said over Instagram.

Gasps and cries of "Oh my god" erupted around an hour after the fire first broke out when t he top portion of the church's spire came crashing down.

"Dear friends", Archbishop of Paris Michel Aupetit tweeted in French Monday. There was no immediate indication of any casualties in the blaze.

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French prosecutors said it was being now being treated as an accident. "We're all Christian, and this is our church".

TRT World speaks with art historian Elizabeth Lev. "It's the entire culture, entire history of France incarnated in this monument", Bernard Lecompte, a writer and specialist in religious history told BFM TV.

Deputy Paris mayor Emmanuel Gregoire told the channel that workers were scrambling "to save all the artworks that can be saved".

At the time of publication, there had been no official confirmation of the treasures being saved. He earlier canceled a planned address to the nation in which he was to announce policy measures in response to the Yellow Vest protest movement. "The worst was avoided even if the battle has not been completely won yet and the next few hours will be hard".

France's billionaire Pinault dynasty immediately pledged 100 million euros for the reconstruction effort.

One of the tourists expressed sadness at the disaster, comparing the cathedral to the soul of the French and Catholics.

"The destruction of this masterpiece of architecture is a catastrophe for the entire humanity", said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The cathedral was "our history, our literature, our imagination, the place where we lived our great moments - our epidemics, wars and liberations", Macron said.

On Twitter, Trump suggested using planes to drop water on the flames. "Must act quickly!" Donald's tweet read.

It was ransacked by rioting Protestant Huguenots in the 16th century, pillaged during the French Revolution of the 1790s and left in a state of semi-neglect. All six were moved to the Louvre in the 1860s, and only "The Visitation" was returned to Notre Dame.

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Jacky Lafortune, a 72-year-old artist and self-described atheist stood forlornly on the banks of the River Seine staring at the cathedral. "This is our deep destiny", he said.

Elena Casas joins TRT World and reports from French capital.

The Paris fire brigade can be seen in videos dousing the blaze with water. "Our Lady of Paris belongs to the whole of mankind", wrote the EU Commission President.

The firetrucks had difficulty getting to the scene, located on an island in Paris, amid the daily afternoon rush hour.

The Paris police department in a tweet called on residents to avoid the area and to "make way for rescue vehicles".

In front of the Saint-Julien-des-Pauvres church, a couple hundred people knelt in prayer in the middle of a larger group.

As the spire fell, the sky lit orange, acrid smoke rose in plumes and flames shot out the roof behind the nave.

A more serious loss than the few remaining stained-glass windows, according to Cohen, is the 13th century timber roof that burned.

The stonework and stained glass of the edifice recreate images and lessons from the Bible. "And that's why I'm so lucky and privileged to have been able to see it today", she said Monday evening. "Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame".

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