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Notre Dame cathedral fire 'fully extinguished'

Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was badly damaged in a fire last night

By Press Association Reporters

Firefighters have fully extinguished a catastrophic fire at Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral that has left France mourning the devastation of its cultural and historic "epicentre".

Hundreds of firefighters tackled the historic blaze through the night, battling to stop it wreaking complete destruction of the treasured facade after flames torched the roof, sending its spire crashing to the ground before crowds of horrified Parisians.

Meanwhile, teams raced to recover what treasures they could from the 850-year-old Gothic masterpiece, which housed priceless artefacts and relics of huge religious and international significance.

The blaze, which broke out as the last crowds of tourists ended visits at around 6pm BST (7pm local time), was finally declared to be "completely under control" nearly nine hours later.

Read more: Paris 'in disbelief' over Notre Dame fire, Fr Aidan Troy says

And on Tuesday morning firefighters in the French capital announced that the fire was fully extinguished.

Flames and smoke rise as the spire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris collapses during a fire. Picture by Diana Ayanna, Associated Press 

Donations have poured in to rebuild the national monument, while French president Emmanuel Macron said a national subscription would be launched when he visited the scene on Monday night.

French tycoon Bernard Arnault and his luxury goods group LVMH have pledged 200 million euro (£173 million) towards the reconstruction of Notre Dame, following a reported 100 million euro (£86 million) donation from another French billionaire, Francois Pinault.

Pope Francis is praying for French Catholics and the Parisian population "under the shock of the terrible fire" that ravaged the cathedral.

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti said on Twitter that the pope "is close to France" and that he is offering prayers "for all those who are trying to cope with this dramatic situation".

Earlier, the Vatican expressed "shock and sadness" at the fire that caused extensive damage to "a symbol of Christianity in France and in the world".

The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris following a fire which destroyed much of the building on Monday evening. Picture by Victoria Jones, Press Association

Flames and smoke rise as the spire on Notre Dame cathedral collapses in Paris 

The scene of last night's fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris 

French firefighters at the scene of last night's fire at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris 

Firefighters work near the rose window of Notre Dame cathedral Tuesday April 16, 2019 in Paris 

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