French President Emmanuel Macron launched an international fundraising campaign as he pledged “we will rebuild” the fire-devastated Notre Dame.
He spoke after two-thirds of the historic cathedral roof were totally destroyed by the blaze.
Its iconic spire also collapsed and priceless stain glass windows exploded in the heat.
“Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicentre of our lives,” Macron told reporters in front of the still burning Paris landmark.
“Notre-Dame is burning, and I know the sadness, and this tremor felt by so many fellow French people. But tonight, I’d like to speak of hope too,” he said, announcing the launch of an fundraising campaign.
“Let’s be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we’ve built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it.
“So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together,” he added.
The first reports of the blaze emerged shortly before 6pm.
Soon, the flames burst through the roof of the building and quickly engulfed the 315-feet spire, which collapsed.
The blaze moved through the cathedral, ravaging two-thirds of the roof and spreading to one of the two rectangular towers which formed its famous frontage.
Around 400 firefighters battled the inferno and tried to salvage artwork and other priceless pieces stored in the 12th century cathedral.
Officials warned that fire crews might not be able to stop the huge blaze, but the Paris fire chief later confirmed the building’s structure had been saved.
There have been no deaths reported but one firefighter was injured.
Officials said the fire may be linked to renovation work at one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions, French media reported.
The cause of the fire remains unknown but following a preliminary investigation Paris prosecutors have said it is believed to be an accident.
Prosecutors later said they had ruled out arson and do not believe the fire was terror-related but police will conduct an investigation into “involuntary destruction caused by fire”.
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