About 10 am local time (6pm in the evening in Paris, France) authorities at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris announced the spire was on fire. As horrified Parisians and tourists watched helplessly the fire spread to nearly the entire roof. An hour later sections of the roof were still on fire.

The roof eventually collapsed, spreading flames into the interior. Because the wood is so old, it burned quickly, destroying most of the art and history inside. It is believed the famous stained-glass window will be lost. Experts do not believe any of the masterpieces inside will be salvageable.

The cathedral is nearly 900 years old. The roof was covered in scaffolding from renovation work. The destroyed spire eventually collapsed. Luckily, some of the statues had been removed for renovation by cranes and have been spared.

Cause of the fire has not yet been released. An investigation has begun.

A $6.8M renovation was underway. Some are speculating the work may have started the flames. Because the exterior is made of stone, it may be saved, but the interior is predicted to be a total loss even though Parisian fire crews are working frantically. The entire river island the cathedral sits on is being evacuated. There is risk of the flames spreading to nearby shops and offices -- most of which are housed in historic buildings as well (although not nearly as old.)