'Colossal' damage to Notre Dame from fire

Experts say the iconic landmark's age and design fueled the flames, which destroyed two-thirds of the roof. ABC News' Janai Norman reports.
3:49 | 04/16/19

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Transcript for 'Colossal' damage to Notre Dame from fire
Want to get right to Paris where we're getting our first look at the damage at notre dom cathedral here's a live look at the scene right now we've learned fire inspectors and safety gear can be seen right they are possibly assessing. The damage in the light of day the French government is already asking for international help to rebuild a world leaders. Are coming together pledging support the fire burns much of the roof and destroyed the spire but several priceless artifacts. Have been say eat there you can see the image of this fire coming down as onlookers gasped and cried out. One world leader said it best saying the French people spirit of liberty equality and fraternity will never be dashed by flames but recovering from this tragedy. Will likely take years. One of the world's most iconic landmarks up in late summer. This is the moment notre dom spire felt crowd gasping as a came down. American Kelly wane that starting abroad in Paris took this video during a sunset cruise on the river send. And you get heated smoke to praising god and man eventually connection that you think you see the flames going up and eventually the power came down. This is very yeah creepy. John Dick guests watched from a balcony as fire in called the cathedrals. There's no question now is the most horrifying moments my my partner and I where we're stand and on the balcony watching over the the moment she started crying and these remarks that fire fall down it it's just you know it's it's not like an iconic part of of the Paris skyline. Experts say the church's AG in designed fueled the flames with its large open spaces and lack of fire protection systems. Leaving firefighters with few options the lead roof used to waterproof the church providing yet another challenge. Onlookers stunned as the flames tore between distill involved in the wooden frame some unable to hold back tears should be smooth. I'll be all would it was only and eat away routes hunting 52 uncle meat is on the autopsy on the sand. And you could just be heat coming off two golds here. The cathedral has stood for 850. Years with stand in two world wars and after narrowly escaping total destruction during the French revolution the battered church was saved by Napoleon. It served as a coronation site for kings and a grand tourist attraction with more than thirteen million visitors each year. A reporter with the Daily Mail was one of the first people inside to see the damage overnight. He says the world famous stained glass windows are in quote smithereens. Firefighters say two thirds of the roofing is now gone but the cell towers and facade. Are intact and the first pictures from inside their church are offering some hope. Rows of wooden pews a pure untouched one image shows smoke rising from the altar at the cross is still standing. Here is that altar before. And after. A priceless relic that has also been saved this morning the crown of thorns said to have been warned by Christ before his crucifixion. Has been taken to Paris City Hall for safe keeping. The faithful believe that's literally this is fit. Dick Dick pound that the savior. Was put on his head. And that's very much on the location where the price happened. The mayor of pierced weeding out this picture of other artifacts saved by a group of police officers in city workers who formed a human chain to rescue them. The cause of the fire not confirmed with the flames engulf scaffolding from a six million dollar renovation project. This video shows statues being removed just last week as part of the ongoing work. Authorities are investigating whether a construction worker accidentally sparked the fire. And prosecutors are launching an investigation into the fire even though arson is not suspected.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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