Firefighters douse flames rising from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019.
Ludovic Marin—AFP/Getty Images

'This Is Our History, and It's Burning.' Photos From Paris Show Notre Dame Devastated by Fire

"We will rebuild Notre Dame together," President Macron vowed
April 15, 2019

People gathered across Paris in shock and in tears as the Notre Dame cathedral, one of the city’s most famous landmarks, caught on fire, sending up giant billows of smoke and flames.

The fire broke out Monday evening local time, and the flames quickly engulfed the cathedral’s spire, which was reconstructed in the 19th century, causing it to collapse. Thousands of onlookers watched as the fire glowed red in the spire before the pointed structure splintered and fell over, sending more smoke and flames upward. Flames burned the roof off of the cathedral and authorities cautioned that nothing might survive from the structure’s frame.

The official cause of the blaze is currently unknown, though a spokesperson for firefighters in Paris said the fire began in the cathedral’s attic. Firefighters said they are optimistic they can save Notre Dame’s main structure and towers from the flames.

French President Emmanuel Macron, in a speech to the nation Monday night, offered thanks to emergency responders who battled the flames.

“We will rebuild Notre Dame together,” Macron vowed. “This is our history, and it’s burning.”

Smoke and flames rise during a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019.
Stephane Rochon Vollet—Abaca/SIPA
Bystanders look on as flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019.
Raphael Lafargue—Abaca/Sipa USA
The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on fire, April 15, 2019.
Romuald Meigneux—SIPA/AP
Bystanders look on as flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof at Notre-Dame Cathedral with the Seine and boats by sun set river in Paris on April 15, 2019.
Raphael Lafargue—Abaca/Sipa USA
French President Emmanuel Macron looks inside the Notre-Dame Cathedral after a massive fire, April 15, 2019.
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People look at a fire at the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris from the banks of the Seine river on April 15, 2019.
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Fire enveloped Notre Dame Cathedra in Paris.
Cyril Lambaud—SIPA
The steeple collapses as smoke and flames engulf the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019.
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A woman reacts as she watches the flames engulf the roof of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019.
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A huge column of smoke stands above one of the world's most famous landmarks - Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, on April 15, 2019.
Matthias Wagner—picture-alliance/dpa/AP
People pray next to Notre Dame Cathedral after it suffered heavy damage from a fire, in Paris, April 15, 2019.
Benoit Tessier—Reuters
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame Cathedral on fire, Paris, April 15, 2019.
Jacques Witt—SIPA/AP
Smokes and flames rise during a fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in central Paris, France, on April 15, 2019.
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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.