He posted on Twitter as flames shot up the famous spire at the cathedral. A video later showed the spire collapsing.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump wrote.
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
First Lady Melania Trump tweeted that her “heart breaks” for locals in Paris after the fire, adding that she’s also “praying for everyone’s safety.”
“Notre Dame is an iconic symbol of faith to people all over the world – and it is heartbreaking to see a house of God in flames. Our thoughts and prayers are with the firefighters on the scene and all the people of Paris,” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted.
My heart breaks for the people of Paris after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Praying for everyone’s safety.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) April 15, 2019
French President Emmanuel Macron also issued a statement as the building continued to burn.
“Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn,” he wrote, according to a translation.
Notre-Dame de Paris en proie aux flammes. Émotion de toute une nation. Pensée pour tous les catholiques et pour tous les Français. Comme tous nos compatriotes, je suis triste ce soir de voir brûler cette part de nous.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 15, 2019
“Basically the whole rooftop is gone. I see no hope for the building,” said witness Jacek Poltorak told Reuters.
The area around Notre Dame was evacuated.
Un terrible incendie est en cours à la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Les @PompiersParis sont en train de tenter de maîtriser les flammes. Nous sommes mobilisés sur place en lien étroit avec le @dioceseParis. J’invite chacune et chacun à respecter le périmètre de sécurité. pic.twitter.com/9X0tGtlgba
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 15, 2019
Firefighters tried to contain the blaze with water hoses and cleared the area around Notre Dame, which sits on an island in the River Seine and marks the very center of Paris.
“Everything is collapsing,” a police officer near the scene said as the entire roof of the cathedral continued to burn.
— Mélanie Gouby (@Melaniegouby) April 15, 2019
The Gothic cathedral is famed for its many carved stone gargoyles, stunning stained glass windows and the flying buttresses that hold up its walls. “There are a lot of art works inside…it’s a real tragedy,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo told reporters at the scene.
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019
Reuters contributed to this report.