Saint Donatien basilica in Nantes, western France, has lit up in flames on Monday morning, destroying nearly the entire roof of the ancient church.
The fire broke out during mass and worshippers had to be evacuated, according to a Reverend of the Nantes diocese, Benoit Bertrand. There are no reported casualties.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, but is suspected to be linked to improvement works which had been ongoing on the basilica’s roof.
Large amount of smoke engulfed the surrounding area. Firefighters had managed to control the flames by midday, but estimate that more than 80 percent of the roof has been destroyed. A large structural damage is suspected. Access to the site has been blocked for security reasons.
The Saint Donatien basilica was constructed in the late nineteenth century and carries large importance for the catholic community of Nantes.