Notre-Dame Cathedral fire: Paris landmark goes up in flames

Flames are seen during a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Flames are seen during a fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Macron was also headed to the scene after postponing a much-anticipated speech on planned policy measures following a long series of violent protests by the Yellow Vest movement that rocked the capital.

As tributes and offers of help roll in from around the world, Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, said her agency is "standing by France's side to safeguard and restore this invaluable heritage"-a reminder of just how important this cathedral has been for centuries".

Flames already have reached one of Notre Dame's towers and brought down the church spire that extended 96 meters high. The fire brigade are trying to control the fire.

"Our Lady of Paris in flames". Red smoke is pouring out of the cathedral.

"Architecturally, it was significant at the time it was built because it was built in the Gothic tradition", said Krupali Krusche, the associate dean of the school of architecture at the University of Notre Dame in IN, who pointed to the lightness of the walls and the flying buttress support system as two key factors in that style.

"Notre-Dame belonged to all humanity".

The cathedral is "more than a historical monument", according to the translated cathedral website. Parisians watched on, many of them lost for words. The fire appears to have started in the roof where work is taking place. A thought for all Catholics and for all French.

Macron tweeted after the blaze broke out in the cathedral's spire on Monday he was sad to see "a part of us being on fire".

The 1996 Disney film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was based on the 1831 novel of the same name, and follows Quasimodo as he struggles to gain acceptance in society.

"So terrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris", wrote President Donald Trump on Twitter.

He said: "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out", adding: "Must act quickly!" Authorities say the wooden interior now is burning.

In Washington, Trump tweeted: "So frightful to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris" and suggested first responders use "flying water tankers" to put it out.

Notre Dame spokesperson Andre Finot told French media outlets that the entire wood frame of the building would likely be lost and the structural integrity would be compromised, according to the AP.

It is believed the blaze began in scaffolding on the roof where renovation work was being carried out. The spire was undergoing renovation. Prosecutors opened an investigation as Paris police said there were no reported deaths. The police department didn't say anything about injuries. Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine, the cathedral's architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses. It is one of the largest religious buildings in the world.