Construction on the Gothic cathedral started in 1163. Renovations had just begun recently, with 16 statues removed from the church last week as part of the repairs.
The spire was being restored as part of millions of dollars’ worth of renovations to repair water damage to the wooden structure.
The Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the most iconic landmarks in the French capital, was engulfed in flames Monday evening as a catastrophic fire tore through the historic structure, collapsing its spire as fire officials raced to save the monument from total destruction.
The Paris fire department declared Tuesday morning that “the entire fire is out”, after nearly 400 firefighters took part in a 9-hour effort to combat the flames.
“A group of experts are analysing all of the structures to establish the next stages,” spokesperson Gabriel Plus told reporters.
Two police officers and a firefighter suffered light injuries tackling the fire, the fire department tweeted, along with pictures of the operation.
“The structure of the cathedral is saved and the main artworks have been safeguarded, thanks to the combined actions of different state services,” it said.
Images from the scene on Monday showed flames engulfing the cathedral, before both the ceiling and the 90-meter (295-foot) spire came crashing down, drawing gasps and groans of disbelief from witnesses.
The fire spread to one of the cathedral’s iconic towers, but French officials said late Monday that firefighters were optimistic they could save both towers.
French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild the cathedral, and said he will seek international help to do so.
He said a national fundraising campaign would be launched on Tuesday and called on the world’s “greatest talents” to assist in the effort.
“We will rebuild,” Macron told reporters. “We will rebuild Notre Dame because this is what the French expect, because this is what our history deserves, because it is our destiny.”
Officials said there were no deaths in the fire. Jean-Claude Gallet, chief of the Parisian fire brigade, said one firefighter was injured while responding to the blaze, the Associated Press reported.
Two-thirds of the cathedral’s roofing was destroyed, Gallet said.
“It looks like the Olympic torch from the back with flames coming through the roof,” France 24 journalist Charli James reported during a live broadcast.
The fire broke out just before 7 p.m., minutes after the cathedral, which has been undergoing extensive renovation work, closed to the public. Around 30,000 people visit the church daily.
Emergency services said they were trying to salvage as much artwork as possible, with France 24 reporting that nearly all of it was able to be removed and saved.
The Crown of Thorns, said to have been worn by Jesus Christ before the crucifixion, and the tunic of St. Louis were both saved, according to the cathedral’s rector.
France 24 reported that the Paris prosecutor has begun an investigation into how the fire started. The cause has not been determined, but the prosecutor’s office said it believes the fire was started accidentally.