The historic Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris was on fire Monday afternoon, police reported.
Images and video of billowing smoke directly emanating from the cathedral have gone viral, several of which have been embedded below.
"This fire is nowhere under control - it's getting worse before our eyes", said CNN correspondent Melissa Bell. At the scene, the fire rapidly spread and took over the iconic cathedral as onlookers nearby scrambled in disbelief to get a view of the scene.
French President Emmanuel Macron has canceled an address to the nation.
The fire is "potentially linked" to the renovation of the building, firefighters told AFP. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out.
And US President Donald Trump tweeted: "So awful to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris".
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire.
Parts of the building were covered by scaffolding while bronze statues were removed last week.
It survived the French Revolution in the late 18th century and benefited from a surge in popularity following the publication of Victor Hugo's "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" in 1831. It attracts millions of tourists each year.
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