A live feed from Paris, France, shows the fire raging at the Notre Dame Cathedral.
Firefighters in Paris say there is a fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral. https://t.co/HHUXgZE4x1— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) April 15, 2019
Paris' iconic Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire on Monday afternoon, and the tragedy took over social media within minutes. As reports trickled out from major news sources, people on the scene and professional camera crews alike began live-streaming the blaze on Periscope and Twitter. At the time of this writing, the fire is still underway, and thousands of people are watching various streams of the fire.
The flames are bright and visible from every vantage point, including shots from high up and cell phones in the crowd. Onlookers gathered in the surrounding streets, pointing their phones up at the architectural icon as flames licked up over the roof.
Live video of the Notre Dame fire from someone who is extremely close to the scene https://t.co/uFWV8W7o4h— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) April 15, 2019
According to a report by The Telegraph, firefighters are undertaking a "major operation" to save the 850-year-old building, but there is no clear word on how severe the damage will be.
Officials suggested that the fire could have something to do with renovations on the cathedral, which were launched by the Catholic Church in France last year.
Paris' mayor, Anne Hidalgo, took to Twitter as well, urging people on the scene to keep a safe distance respect the boundaries set up by first responders. She included photos of smoke billowing out of the cathedral, and firefighters on the ground setting up a perimeter in the hopes of keeping onlookers safe.
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
The Notre Dame Cathedral is nearly 1,000 years old, with construction first starting in the 12th Century. It is considered a French Gothic building, though there are elements of Renaissance and Naturalist influence in its design. It took about 300 years to build the massive church, which is reportedly the most-visited monument in all of France.
The Cathedral is also home to some important French artifacts, including the belongings of French King Louis IX, Saint Louis the architect, Viollet-Le-Duc and Pope John Paul II.
Notre Dame held the top trending spot on Twitter on Monday afternoon as onlookers watched the fire in dismay. People around the world weighed in on the tragedy and wondered what would happen to the church.