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Heartbreak for France as huge fire ravages Notre Dame Cathedral

A host of world leaders, celebrities and millions more worldwide have taken to Twitter to respond to the catastrophic fire in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “sad to see this part of us burn” as he responded to the fire, which looks likely to have destroyed the entire wooden interior of the historic building, according to officials.

In French, Mr Macron wrote on Twitter: “Our Lady of Paris (Notre-Dame de Paris) in flames. Emotion of a whole nation. Thought for all Catholics and for all French.

“Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”

Former US president Barack Obama shared his condolences and a message to rebuild “as strong as we can”.

He tweeted: “Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief.

“It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can.”

Current US President Donald Trump said: “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!”

Mr Trump’s vice president Mike Pence said it was “heartbreaking to see a house of God in flames”, describing the cathedral as “an iconic symbol of faith to people all over the world”.

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said Notre Dame showed that humans could “unite for a higher purpose”.

“My heart goes out to Paris,” she tweeted. “Notre Dame is a symbol of our ability as human beings to unite for a higher purpose – to build breathtaking spaces for worship that no one person could have built on their own.

“I wish France strength and shared purpose as they grieve and rebuild.”

Westminster Abbey in central London said on its official Twitter account that it was “devastated”.

“Devastated for our friends at #NotreDame and for the people of France,” it tweeted. “You are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury said he was praying for “everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps”.

He tweeted: “Tonight we pray for the firefighters tackling the tragic #NotreDame fire – and for everyone in France and beyond who watches and weeps for this beautiful, sacred place where millions have met with Jesus Christ.”

A comment from the Louvre Museum’s Twitter account said: “The fire which has struck Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is a tragedy for World Heritage.

“The Louvre expresses its deepest admiration and solidarity with those who are currently battling the flames.”

Leaders of the European Union shared thoughts on the news, with European Council president Donald Tusk tweeting: “We are all with Paris today.”

President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker described the fire as a “horror”.

In a press release written in French, Mr Juncker said: “I am minute by minute the fire of which Notre-Dame de Paris is the prey.
“Our Lady of Paris belongs to the whole of mankind. What a sad spectacle. What a horror.

“I share the emotion of the French nation which is also ours.”

European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt said he was “so sad” to see “a masterpiece of European gothic is at risk”.

“I hope that the Paris fire brigade will get the fire under control as soon as possible,” tweeted Mr Verhofstadt. “My thoughts are with the people of France as a masterpiece of European gothic is at risk of being destroyed.”

In an apparent response to the fire, Professor Brian Cox said he had a “powerful sense of the precarious nature of existence”.

He tweeted: “The great achievements of our civilisation are so precious and so fragile and we take them for granted until they vanish in a single spring evening.

“I have a powerful sense of the precarious nature of existence tonight.”

TV historian Dan Snow cited other damaging fires on monuments as evidence that Notre Dame “will rise again”.

He tweeted: “It’s overwhelming but remember that York Minster and Hampton Court burned in the 80s, Windsor Castle in the 90s and Cutty Sark in the 00s. Dresden’s Frauenkirche, the Catherine Palace…

“What we build, we can rebuild. Their essence endures.

“#NotreDame will rise again.”

Many other celebrities responded, with British pop star Dua Lipa saying she was “heartbroken” by the fire.

“So much history collapsing right before our eyes,” she tweeted. “Heartbroken for Notre-Dame and Paris.”

Cher said she was “praying for Notre Dame” and “will never forget those with the spirit Of La Marseillaise”.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper said she was in Paris and saw the spire fall, but “can’t bear to watch any more”.

“Fearful for anyone close to the flames, and aghast that centuries of history & beauty could disappear into smoke so fast,” she tweeted.

From the UK Prime Minister Twitter account Theresa May said: “My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame cathedral.”

Picture: Smoke and flames rise from Notre-Dame Cathedral on 15th April 2019 in Paris, France. A huge fire swept through the roof of the famed Notre-Dame Cathedral in the French capital, sending flames and huge clouds of grey smoke billowing into the sky. The flames and smoke plumed from the spire and roof of the gothic cathedral, visited by millions of people a year. (Apaydin Alain/ABACA/ABACA/PA).