'A cultural tragedy': Politicians and public figures react to the massive blaze at Notre Dame

notre dame fireSmoke billows as fire engulfs the spire of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France April 15, 2019.REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Politicians and public figures around the world are expressing their sympathies amid a massive fire at the historic Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.

On Monday evening, the 856-year-old house of worship caught fire, with the blaze quickly tearing through the iconic structure. The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but it has already caused devastating damage, with the spire of the cathedral collapsing.

French president Emmanuel Macron has cancelled a planned speech to the nation as a result of the fire, and tweeted: "Like all our compatriots, I am sad this evening to see this part of all of us burn," according to a translation from Reuters.

US president Donald Trump tweeted his reaction, and suggested an approach for tackling the blaze: "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!"

First Lady Melania Trump tweeted: "My heart breaks for the people of Paris after seeing the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral. Praying for everyone's safety."

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, wrote: This is truly devastating. What a cultural tragedy, not just for Paris and France, but for the world. #NotreDame."

And Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said "we are all with Paris today."

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, also expressed solidarity. "Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always," he wrote.

The cathedral had been in the middle of renovations at the time of the fire.
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