The 750-ton spire had been undergoing a restoration when the fire broke out at the Paris landmark
The iconic spire on top of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has collapsed during a fire that broke out on Monday evening.
In a video on Twitter, posted by Associated French Presse correspondent Patrick Galey, the spire can be seen tumbling onto the roof after being engulfed in flames as smoke filled the sky.
During the video, onlookers can be heard gasping and screaming as they watch the top of the iconic landmark collapse. “The moment #NotreDame’s spire fell” Galey wrote alongside the chilling footage.
A Paris resident tells PEOPLE that onlookers watching the blaze were moved to tears as they watched the flames.
The spire was one of the most remarkable elements of the imposing French Gothic church. The one that fell on Monday replaced the original in the 18th century after it was damaged by wind and removed. The current spire was made of oak covered with lead and weighed 750 tons.
The blaze at Notre Dame erupted around 6:30 p.m. Monday local time and quickly appeared to completely consume the structure’s roof. Portions of the roof have also since collapsed, according to France 24.
André Finot, a spokesman for the cathedral, told the New York Times that the cause of the fire is not yet clear. Though local TV network BFM-TV reports that the fire was “possibly linked” to the renovation of the building and began in the rafters, but there were no workers scheduled to be on the rooftop scaffolding at the hour the fire broke out.
Onlooker Pierre-Eric Trimovillas told the Times “It hurts to watch this. The cathedral is the symbol, the heart of Paris,” he said. “Paris is beheaded.”
Angelique de Almeida, also told the newspaper that she cried while watching the spire fall and said, “We are going to lose her, everything is up in flames. We lose this, we lose Paris. It is apocalyptic. And this is the Holy Week.”
A spokesperson for the cathedral told the BBC that the whole structure is “burning,” adding, “There will be nothing left.”
Firefighters set up a large security perimeter around the scene while first responders brought in ladders and aerial life arms. According to CNBC, a french official said no injuries had been reported and Paris police said there had been no confirmed deaths.
Many people, including some celebrities and President Donald Trump, reacted to the blaze on Twitter to mourn the loss of the landmark.
French President Emmanuel Macron canceled a speech he had scheduled for this evening and headed directly to the scene, where he then met with Paris police, according to the Washington Post.
“Our Lady of Paris in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thoughts for all Catholics and for all French,” he wrote in a Tweet translated from French. “Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
The Catholic cathedral is located on an island in the center of the capital called the Île de la Cité, surrounded by the River Seine. The building was completed around 1345, but has been modified over the centuries.
Notre Dame was the subject of Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was made into a popular animated film by Disney in 1996.
It’s one of the most popular tourist sites in the world, drawing 13 million visitors per year.