A chilling video shows a group of people singing “Ave Maria” as they watch flames engulf the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
As massive plumed of yellow brown smoke fill the air above the church, ash can be seen falling on tourists and others around the island that marks the center of the beloved city.
The video was first shared on Twitter by French correspondent Ignacio Gil Monday evening.
The video was retweeted more than 25,000 times and triggered emotional responses from around the world.
The catastrophic fire that has engulfed the cathedral as it was undergoing renovations has threatened one of the greatest architectural treasures of the Western world.
The blaze collapsed the cathedral's spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers. A spokesman said the entire wooden frame of the cathedral would likely come down, and that the vault of the edifice could be threatened too.
France’s Interior Ministry said firefighters might not be able to save the structure.
"Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame," Notre Dame spokesman Andre Finot told French media. The 12th-century cathedral is home to incalculable works of art and is one of the world's most famous tourist attractions, immortalized by Victor Hugo's 1831 novel "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
Prosecutors opened an investigation into the cause of the fire as Paris police said there were no reported deaths. Some 400 firefighters were battling the blaze well into the night.