Notre Dame suffers ‘colossal’ damage as firefighters avert ‘worst case scenario’ (INTERIOR PHOTOS)

Smoke rises around the altar in front of the cross inside the Notre Dame Cathedral © Reuters / Philippe Wojazer / Free

The first images from inside the devastated Notre Dame Cathedral show the inferno has ravaged 850 years of French cultural heritage, even though firefighters managed to save the Paris landmark from total collapse.

“The fire is completely under control,” Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus, a spokesman for the Paris Fire Department, told reporters some eight hours after the first responders arrived at the blazing scene shortly before 7 pm on Monday evening. “It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out.”

The first photos from inside the Gothic architectural gem show the altar in front of the cross intact, with debris from the burned-out roof still smoking on the floor. Flames and smoke are clearly visible in other pictures, which show the roof and parts of the interior on fire.

Flames are seen as the interior continues to burn inside the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris © Reuters / Philippe Wojazer / Free

Despite the massive inferno, the clergy and the fire brigades have managed to save large parts of the Cathedral’s treasures, including many Christian relics. Firefighters also saved the two bell towers after the spire and most of the roof burned out and collapsed. President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the Cathedral, promising to find the best international talents to restore the centuries-old landmark.

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