Photos are showing the seriousness of the fire at France's Notre Dame Cathedral.
As flames broke out at the 13th century cathedral located in Paris, France, on Monday afternoon, images shared across social media showed the extent of the blaze and the possible damage that will result once the fire is put out.
Currently, the ongoing fire has claimed the roof and the spiral. It is not known if any of the precious items inside, including the True Cross and one of the Holy Nails from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, will have survived.
These are some of the latest images from the Notre Dame fire in Paris pic.twitter.com/1qz3S83wmp— TicToc by Bloomberg (@tictoc) April 15, 2019
Visited by millions of people every year, construction on the medieval cathedral began in the 12th Century and was completed in 1345. Boasted as a feat of architecture, the 850-year-old Gothic building also homed a collection of precious items, including one of the Holy Nails from the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and number of rare paintings.
Parisians are watching with horror as the Notre Dame Cathedral continues to burn. (📸: Getty) pic.twitter.com/VYyIoUxvBU— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 15, 2019
On Monday afternoon, it was reported that the building had been engulfed in flames, with police announcing that "Notre Dame Fire in progress." They also urged Parisians to "avoid the area and facilitate the passage of emergency vehicles and intervention of the @prefpolice."
Soon, the area was flooded with emergency personal battling the flames, which quickly spread and claimed the roof and the iconic spiral, leaving people shocked worldwide.
According to André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral who spoke to The New York Post via telephone, the fire alarm first went off around 6:30 p.m. local time and the cathedral was evacuated. Soon, the white smoke rising from the spire turned gray and then black, indicating that the fire was quickly growing.
"These cathedrals and houses of worship are built to burn," Vincent Dunn, a fire consultant and former New York City fire chief, said. "If they weren't houses of worship, they'd be condemned."
According to Reuters, police have stated that the fire was started "by accident" and "is related to ongoing work."
A "major operation" was currently underway at the nearly 900-year-old cathedral after cracks in the stone were noticed, prompting concern about the structure's stability. In 2018, the Catholic Church had appealed for funds to save the building, and a number of areas of the building were currently under renovation as a result.
The renovations meant that a handful of items, mainly bronze structures, had been removed from the building last week.