Paris' iconic Notre Dame is burning, and it may be doomed. France's interior minister says it "is not certain" the 850-year-old cathedral can be saved, reports AFP. The AP initially reported flames and smoke could be seen pouring from the base of the building's spire, which was in the process of being renovated at a cost of $6.8 million. Reuters has since reported the spire has collapsed as well as the roof. "Basically the whole rooftop is gone," says a witness. "I see no hope for the building." Added a police officer on the scene: "Everything is collapsing." The BBC quotes fire officials who say it's possible the fire is connected to the renovation work. CNN notes firefighters struggled to get through rush-hour traffic to reach the scene of what Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo calls a "terrible fire." More coverage:
- Watch live coverage of the fire via the BBC.
- About 14 million people a year visit the cathedral, per the Guardian. It is, by far, the most visited monument in Paris, notes the Washington Post. "Its intricate stone gargoyles, spires, stained glass and flying buttresses make it one of the great masterpieces of architecture."