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-TVreports 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 stars have reacted to the news.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris,” wrote President Donald Trump, who wondered why more wasn’t seemingly being done to put out the flames. “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
Speaking with the press on Monday, Trump added that it was “greater than almost any museum in the world.”
“My heart breaks for the people of Paris after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral,” wrote First Lady Melania Trump. “Praying for everyone’s safety.”
In a tweet, Jurassic Park actress Laura Dern said she was moved to tears at the devastation.
“I’m weeping. Our gift of light,” she wrote. “Notre Dame on fire. My heart is breaking. My grandmother’s and mother’s heart home.”
Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda penned, “Standing here next to you, heartsick for Notre Dame…”