By: The Associated Press

Twitter: @ABC6

Email: news@abc6.com

PARIS (AP)  - A hole left by Notre Dame's fallen spire is still burning and sparks are spilling down from the cathedral's vaulted ceilings more than five hours a fire broke out near the top of the Gothic landmark in Paris.   

An Associated Press reporter entered the cathedral late Monday while French President Emmanuel Macron was visiting Notre Dame, getting a glimpse of the immense damage the blaze caused.     

No lights were on, but the simmering red hole from the fallen spire provided illumination.

Streams of sparks rained from the gap onto the floor where the church choir usually stands during services.     

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said earlier that most artworks and religious relics were removed from Notre Dame as firefighters worked to control the blaze.     

France's culture minister posted photos on social media of people loading art onto trucks.         

French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral and says he is seeking international help to restore the Paris landmark.     

Macron said after the French capital's fire chief announced the emergency response had changed into a monitoring and mop-up operation, ``The worst has been avoided although the battle is not yet totally won.''     

Macron said a national fundraising campaign to restore Notre Dame would be launched Tuesday and he called on the world's ``greatest talents'' to help.     

The French leader credited the ``courage'' and ``great professionalism'' of firefighters with sparing Notre Dame's facade and two landmark towers from being destroyed.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2019