PARIS, April 15 -- Historic French cathedral Notre Dame has been ravaged by a huge blaze.
Dramatic images and video show the 850-year-old building ablaze as a huge emergency operation was launched. The shocking scene in the French capital unfolded this afternoon, and flames have been seen coming from the two bell towers. Officials have cleared the area around Notre Dame, a City Hall spokesman confirmed. It is not yet known if anyone has been injured in the fire. Firefighters are helpless to bring the blaze under control because the flames are so far away, according to reports. Le Monde journalist Raphaëlle Bacqué reports that the fire is too far away for crews to be able to act. It is not known if anyone is inside the building, which closed to the public at 6pm local time, 50 minutes before the blaze was first reported.