Social media is in shock after France's iconic Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire Monday.
Dozens of images and videos shared on Monday, April 15 showed a large plume of smoke billowing near the medieval cathedral’s spiral, which eventually collapsed as a result of the flames.
“Notre Dame Fire in progress,” police announced on Twitter. “Avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention of the @prefpolice.”
News that the structure was burning prompted a wave of comments online from those in shock that the famous structure was aflame and in danger of being lost, with many sending prayers that the damage will be reparable.
“It's really sad to see this happen to one of France's most famous landmarks. It's 800 years old. It will be such a big loss,” one person wrote. “The fire looks monstrous but I hope they c an still do something about it.”
Absolutely heartbreaking. That’s almost a 1000 years worth of history going down in flames. One of the most iconic architectures in the world. Moment of loss not only for France, but basically the entire world. #NotreDame pic.twitter.com/B2kb954vaO— P A B O WITH LUV🤘🏻 (@aegyoeobta) April 15, 2019
“Heartbreaking to see Notre Dame Cathedral completely engulfed in flames. Ground was originally broken in 1163, and took nearly 200 years to complete. Just awful,” another person added.
"France has been through so much in the last couple of years and now their biggest symbol of love and sanctuary is burning,” another commented. “This is painful to even think about.”
Built in the 13th century, the medieval structure was famous for its towers, spire, and stained glass and often considered a feat of architecture. The most precious treasure, the Crown of Thorns, is one of three holy artifacts housed in Notre Dame, along with the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The building was among Paris’ most popular attractions, drawing an estimated 13 millions viewers a year.
Currently, the Cathedral was undergoing renovations after cracks began to appear in the stone, prompting concern that the structure would become unstable. Although not yet confirmed, it is believed the fire was accidental and linked tot he ongoing renovation work, the BBC reports.
The fire has not yet been extinguished. The extent of the damage is also not yet known.