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The Notre Dame Cathedral's Spire Has Collapsed In The Massive Fire

The iconic Gothic church in Paris is burning.

Last updated on April 15, 2019, at 4:05 p.m. ET

Posted on April 15, 2019, at 3:20 p.m. ET

Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt / AFP / Getty Images

The Notre Dame Cathedral's iconic spire collapsed in a massive fire Monday. The church is one of the most recognizable structures in the world and a symbol of Paris.

The devastating collapse was captured by reporters and bystanders livestreaming the blaze.

Cries of horror can be heard in the videos as the structure falls.

Although the construction on the cathedral began in 1163, the first spire — flèche — wasn't added until around 1250, per the monument's official website.

The original structure housed five bells and stood for nearly 500 years until it was deemed unstable and dismantled in a process that lasted from 1786 to 1792.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Notre Dame Cathedral and its original spire pictured in 1350.

A new spire was commissioned as part of the cathedral's massive 25-year restoration project, which began in 1844 and was helmed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

The architect decided to re-create the original medieval structure. The new structure was built out of oak wood covered in lead and weighed 700 tons.

AP File Photo

Notre Dame cathedral pictured in 1911.

The structure was decorated with statues of the 12 Apostles and the traditional symbols of the four evangelists.

The spire marked the highest point of the cathedral and stood 295 feet above the ground.

cjuneau / Via CC BY 2.0,

These copper statues were removed last week as part of a new 6 million euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the spire.

Bertrand Guay / AFP / Getty Images

The cause of the fire is currently unclear and the full extent of the damage to the cathedral remains to be seen.

Francois Guillot / AFP / Getty Images

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.