"Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building," said witness Jacek Poltorak, watching the fire from a fifth-floor balcony two blocks from the southern façade of the cathedral, one of France's most visited places.
Firefighters cleared the area around Notre-Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very center of Paris. Buildings around were evacuated.
"Everything is collapsing," a police officer near the scene said as the entire roof of the cathedral continued to burn.
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Just the loss of artwork alone... it demonstrates that nothing is forever.