The next hour and a half will be crucial to efforts to save what remains of the Notre Dame Cathedral, said Jean-Claude Gallet, commander general of the Paris Fire Brigade.
“There’s a risk that the great bells fall. If the bells fall, it’s the tower that collapses. There are firefighters inside and outside. The next hour and a half will be crucial,” he told reporters on the scene.
“We need to win this battle and block the spreading of the flames. The most efficient action is from the inside. We are not sure if we will be able to stop the spreading of the flames to the North Tower," he said.
He said the initial call to emergency services notified authorities of a fire in the attic of the cathedral, although the cause of the blaze is unknown.
“We are evacuating the most precious artwork that is being sheltered,” Gallet said.