On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron also took to Twitter to express the structure's significance to France and pledge that it would be restored. Both then collapsing. Intense emotion and powerlessness at seeing this awe-inspiringly handsome 850-year-old cathedral ravaged by fire.
Associated Press reporters at the scene saw massive plumes of yellow-brown smoke filling the air above the cathedral and ash falling on the island that houses Notre Dame and marks the centre of Paris.
As the spire fell, the sky lit up orange and flames shot out of the roof behind the nave of the cathedral, among the most visited landmarks in the world.
French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters near the scene that he will seek global help, including the "greatest talents" in the world, to rebuild Notre Dame.
"The lead that protects the wooden spire from the elements, which dates from the mid-nineteenth century, has fallen into disrepair, and because of water damage to the wooden structure beneath, is structurally compromised", according to the Notre Dame website.
"Everything is collapsing", a police officer near the scene said as the cathedral continued to burn.
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It is not believed that anyone has been injured in the fire, but the enormous historic loss is hard to fathom.
The Vatican said Pope Francis "has seen with shock and sadness the news of the bad fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world".
The fire may have been linked to renovation work being done on the cathedral.
A massive fire engulfed the roof of the cathedral in the heart of the French capital on Monday afternoon as Parisians watched in horror.
Pascal told French broadcaster BFMTV: "It's been 800 years that the Cathedral watches over Paris" and its bells pealed for both "happy and unfortunate events". There are also live feeds on Twitter and Periscope to keep up with the Notre Dame news. However, the historic building was reportedly undergoing renovations.
"I am following minute by minute the fire that is preying on Notre Dame".