Authorities say firefighters battling a massive blaze at the 800-year-old Notre Dame Cathedral in the center of Paris, one of the city’s iconic tourist attractions and a major landmark, appear to have succeeded in saving a portion of the structure.
About 400 firefighters were reportedly engaged in trying to save the building, whose familiar spire and much of the roof and interior were destroyed. The 13th century structure became engulfed in flames early Monday, with initial reports saying the fire appeared to be accidental.
Some reports indicated the cause may be related to renovation work that has been taking place at the site, which houses countless art treasures. An investigation was launched to determine the cause of the disaster.
The fire continued to burn as night fell in Paris, and initially hopes faded that any part of the cathedral could be spared. But a French fire official was quoted saying Monday night that the cathedral had been saved from “total destruction.” He added that the structure’s two towers had been saved.
In a statement, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “The worst has been avoided, but the battle isn’t fully won yet.” He added that France will start an international fundraising effort of Tuesday aimed at rebuilding the structure.
One firefighter was reportedly seriously injured fighting the blaze.