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Notre Dame fire 'under control, partially extinguished': Firefighters

Sparks fill the air as Paris Fire brigade members spray water to extinguish flames as the Notre Dame Cathedral burns in Paris, France. Photograph:( AFP )

Agencies Paris, France Apr 16, 2019, 08.13 AM (IST)

A massive fire that devastated Notre-Dame Cathedral is "under control", Paris fire brigade confirmed on Tuesday.

"The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out," AFP quoted, spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus as saying.

A huge fire consumed Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday, gutting the roof of the Paris landmark and stunning France and the world, but firefighters managed to save the shell of the stone structure and its two main bell towers from collapse.

Flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the eight centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof.

As it burned into the evening, firefighters battled to prevent one of the main bell towers from collapsing and tried to rescue religious relics and priceless artwork. 

One firefighter was seriously injured - the only reported casualty, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, country's president Emmanuel Macron said France would launch a campaign to rebuild the cathedral, including through fundraising efforts and by appealing to "talents" from overseas to contribute.

"The worst has been avoided, even if the battle has not been totally won yet," French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the scene shortly before midnight.

"We will rebuild it together. It will undoubtedly be part of French destiny and our project for the years to come," a visibly moved Macron said.

The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, featured in Victor Hugo's classic novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.

It is a focal point for French Roman Catholics who like Christians around the world are celebrating Holy Week, marking the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The archbishop of Paris called on all priests in Paris to ring church bells as a gesture of solidarity for Notre-Dame.

Story highlights

The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, featured in Victor Hugo's classic novel "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". It is a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts millions of tourists every year.