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Crowds of stunned Parisians and vacationers — some crying, other individuals supplying prayers — watched on in horror in central Paris on Monday evening as flames engulfed the Notre-Dame cathedral.

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Gasps and cries of “Oh my god” erupted at 7:50 pm (1750 GMT) when the major portion of the church’s spire came crashing down into an inferno that has spread to the whole roof.

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Extra gasps came a handful of seconds later when the rest of the spire collapsed, caught on the cameras of thousands of mobile phones.

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“Paris is disfigured. The city will by no means be like it was ahead of,” stated Philippe, a communications worker in his mid-30s, who had biked more than following getting alerted of the fire by a pal.

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“It’s a tragedy,” he added. “If you pray, now is the time to pray.”

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                                                   AFP / Patrick ANIDJAR Bystanders looked on as flames and smoke billowed from Notre-Dame

Police had been attempting to clear pedestrians away from the two islands in the river Seine, such as the Ile de la Cite which homes the soaring Gothic church, a single of Europe’s finest identified landmarks.

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But throngs of onlookers kept attempting to method, snarling website traffic as they massed on the stone bridges top to the islands.

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A different lady passed by, tears operating from behind her glasses, as well overwhelmed to speak to reporters.

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“It’s completed, we’ll by no means be in a position to see it once more,” stated Jerome Fautrey, a 37-year-old who had come to watch.

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“Now we want to know how this occurred — with every little thing that is going on in the planet, why Notre-Dame? Perhaps it is a message from on higher,” he stated.

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1 police officer, arriving on a single of the bridges, turned up to gape, saying “Oh my god.”

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“It’s unbelievable, our history is going up in smoke,” stated Benoit, 42, who arrived on the scene by bike.

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