Notre Dame fire IN PICTURES: First images released of destruction INSIDE the cathedral

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Parisians watched in horror as a huge plume of smoke extended for miles over the centre of the French capital. The ferocious blaze has devastated Notre Dame Cathedral, destroying its spire and a large part of the roof. Firefighters battled to contain the fire, which began at around 6pm on Monday.

An investigation has been opened by the prosecutor’s office, but police said it began accidentally and may be linked to building work at the cathedral.

The 850-year-old gothic masterpiece had been undergoing restoration work.

More to follow…

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