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Officials say Notre Dame's main structure is saved and preserved
Fire officials said late Monday that Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was saved from "total destruction" after a massive fire broke out, engulfing much of the building and destroying its iconic spire and stained-glass windows.
The blaze spread to the cathedral's two rectangular towers Monday evening but was later contained.
The news that the building has been partially saved comes after officials originally believed the entire building would burn to the ground.
"Everything is burning. Nothing will remain from the frame," cathedral spokesman André Finot had predicted earlier in the day.
It is unclear how much art in the building has been saved. A priest told local reporters that all the art stored in the cathedral had been saved; however, a top fire official confirmed only that most precious art had been safeguarded.
Notre Dame is home to a Catholic relic, the crown of thorns, which is believed to have been placed on Jesus's head before the crucifixion. Other artworks and artifacts at the cathedral include religious statues and a piece of wood believed to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified.
The fire has been lamented across the globe and by world leaders as a horrific tragedy and an unfortunate loss of a historic landmark and cultural icon.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire, though it is currently believed to be an accident related to restoration efforts.