It took more than 12 hours, and firefighters in Paris were finally able to extinguish an inferno engulfing Paris' iconic Notre Dame cathedral.
The fire claimed the iconic building’s spire and roof, but spared its bell towers and the purported Crown of Christ.
What remained was a blackened shell of the monument immortalized in Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," a building that had survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated amid renovation works at the start of Catholic Easter week.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the cathedral that he called "a part of us" and appealed for help to do so.
The fire came less than a week before Easter amid Holy Week commemorations. As the cathedral continued to burn, Parisians gathered to pray and sing hymns outside the church of Saint Julien Les Pauvres across the river from Notre Dame, as the flames lit the sky behind them.
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, Notre Dame is the most famous of the Gothic cathedrals of the Middle Ages as well as one of the most beloved structures in the world. Situated on the Ile de la Cite, an island in the Seine river, the cathedral’s architecture is famous for, among other things, its many gargoyles and its iconic flying buttresses.
With files from the Associated Press
Ben Tavener, reporter for BBC, who is in Paris, France; he tweets @BenTavener
Eleanor Beardsley, NPR’s Paris correspondent
Ava Wasson, member of the Santa Monica High School choir, which performed at Notre Dame last week; she is Lael's daughter