From The New York Times:
Built in the 12th and 13th centuries, the cathedral is currently undergoing extensive renovation work. Last week, several statues were lifted by crane from the spire.
“It hurts to watch this. The cathedral is the symbol, the heart of Paris,” said Pierre-Eric Trimovillas, 32. The crowd gasped and cried in horror as the spire fell, Mr. Trimovillas said, adding, “Paris is beheaded.” Angelique de Almeida, 32, watched the fire through tears. “We are going to lose her, everything is up in flames,” she said. “We lose this, we lose Paris. It is apocalyptic. And this is the Holy Week.”