A mayoress says she watched on in “horror” as flames ravaged the 850-year-old Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.

Martine Eni, who is the wife of Elstree & Borehamwood town mayor Cllr Victor Eni, says she could hardly believe the news coverage when she saw it.

Mrs Eni, who was born in Eastern France, but now lives in Borehamwood, said: “Notre Dame on fire. Who would believe it? After the catastrophic fire, Paris firefighters won an hours-long battle to save the main structure of the building, after a colossal fire attempted to wipe out centuries of heritage.”

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Photo credits: PA

The huge fire which has destroyed the cathedral’s roof was finally extinguished 15 hours after it began in the French capital. Fire crews were called at 6.50pm local time (5.50pm BST). At one stage there were 400 firefighters tackling the blaze.

The spire collapsed but the landmark’s main stone structure, including its two towers has survived.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear.

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Credits: PA

Hundreds of millions of euros have been pledged to help rebuild Notre-Dame – including French billionaire Francois Pinault who said he would donate £86m to the rebuild because the cathedral is a “symbol of spirituality and or common humanity”.

Mrs Eni added: “The roof will be rebuilt and we are all going to help as funding pours in. We had no choice to be stunned and watch on in horror and see the destruction of the heart of Paris but we will rebuild, such is the French spirit. A bientot Notre Dame.