Below are the live updates we had throughout the day:
Update 5:54 pm – The French President Emmanuel Macron thanks the 500 firefighters who took part in the efforts to save Notre Dame Cathedral. Says that the “worst has been avoided” and that the cathedral will be rebuilt.
Meanwhile the Paris prosecutor’s office has said that a preliminary investigation points to the fire being started by accident.
Update 5:28 pm – French journalist Alexandre Fremont sends out this photo from a drone, showing the extent of the fire at Notre Dame.
— Alexandre Fremont (@alex_fremont) April 15, 2019
Update 5:03 pm – A French official reports that they believe the structure will be saved from total destruction. One firefighter has been seriously injured.
Update 4:40 pm – From Michel Aupetit, Archbishop of Paris: “To all priests in Paris: firefighters are still fighting to save the towers of Notre-Dame de Paris. The frame, the roof and the boom are consumed. Pray. If you wish, you can ring the bells of your churches to invite to prayer.”
A tous les prêtres de Paris :
Les pompiers se battent encore pour sauver les tours de Notre-Dame de Paris. La charpente, la toiture et la flèche sont consumés. Prions. Si vous le souhaitez, vous pouvez faire sonner les cloches de vos églises pour inviter à la prière.
— Mgr Michel Aupetit (@MichelAupetit) April 15, 2019
Update 4:06 – The Deputy Mayor of Paris, Christophe Girard, says in an interview that the fire started at 7 pm local time on the roof of the cathedral. Still too early to know what the cause of the fire was, but according to the local Bishop construction work was taking place. He adds that the fire may have started in the section where the statues were removed earlier this month.
A plan to remove artworks was enacted with city hall, the Ministry of Culture and the Louvre all working together bringing trucks to take away the artefacts.
About 1000 to 2000 residents have been evacuated, with city building and sports facilities being opened for them, but that local hotels are also offering space for people to stay tonight.
He also notes that an International Campaign to rebuild this cathedral is likely to begin for this “jewel on this planet”. He adds that “Notre Dame absolutely will live.”
Update 3:48 – More live news coverage
Update 3:34 EST – French journalist reports that a priest from the Cathedral has told him that all the artwork and holy relics inside the church has been saved.
Une bonne nouvelle : toutes les œuvres d’art ont été sauvées. Le trésor de la cathédrale est intact, la couronne d’épines, les saints sacrements. #NOTRE_DAME
— Nicolas Delesalle (@KoliaDelesalle) April 15, 2019
For those asking why water is not being dumped from helicopter, etc. – firefighting officials say that dropping water like that would destroy the stone structure.
Update 3:08 EST – Reports that the left-hand tower of the facade is now on fire.
The restoration work at Notre Dame Cathedral was scheduled to last 20 years, and they needed 150 million euros to complete the work. This includes 2.5 million euros for the spire. Officials had previously reported difficulties in raising the funds.
Earlier this month 16 copper statues were airlifted and moved for renovation.
Update 2:48 EST – Message from the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, asking people to stay away from the scene. Reports suggest the entire Île de la Cité has been evacuated.
Un terrible incendie est en cours à la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Les @PompiersParis sont en train de tenter de maîtriser les flammes. Nous sommes mobilisés sur place en lien étroit avec le @dioceseParis. J’invite chacune et chacun à respecter le périmètre de sécurité. pic.twitter.com/9X0tGtlgba
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 15, 2019
Update 2:40 EST – Live reports suggest that the fire is starting to be contained. Fire officials say that the renovation work being on the cathedral is being investigated as a possible cause of the blaze.
Update 2:28 EST – “Everything is burning. The framework, which dates from the 19th century on one side and the 13th century on the other, there will be nothing left.” ~ Andre Finot, spokesperson for Notre Dame Cathedral
Update 2:19 EST – Live feeds from CBC in Canada and NBC in the United States
Message on Twitter from French President Emmanuel Macron
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
Update 2:15 – Live feed from France 24 French feed
Update 2:11 EST pm – Police report no deaths from the fire. The main spire has collapsed.
We will give you updates as fast as we can. Early reports suggest it was started in an area where renovations taking place.
Live news coverage:
Views from Twitter
— Jacopo Semprini (@SempriniJacopo) April 15, 2019
— Gully Burrows (@gullyburrows93) April 15, 2019