JUST IN: Rouen Cathedral, a Gothic remnant from 12th century France made famous by Claude Monet, catches fire

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A 12th century Gothic cathedral in Rouen, in northern France, has caught ablaze, according to the region’s mayor.

Rouen mayor Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol said the cause of the fire was unknown but emergency crews had been mobilised.

The cathedral is widely known as it was painted several times by French impressionist painter Claude Monet in the 19th century.

Television images on BFM channel showed a dark plume of smoke rising from the spire and people in the streets below looking up in horror.

The local prefect, a state authority,  said the cathedral has been evacuated and a security cordon has been set up.

It says the fire occurred at a part of the cathedral where building works are currently taking place.

The Rouen cathedral spire had been surrounded by scaffolding and a white cover for several weeks.

The prefecture said there were no reports of casualties and the extent of the damage was unclear for now.

In 2019, a fire devastated Paris’s Notre-Dame cathedral, destroying its spire and roof and threatened to collapse the whole structure.

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