Paris firefighters worked furiously to save Notre Dame Cathedral, and they mostly succeeded, having managed to preserve the iconic building’s towers and its famous north rose window.
Lost in one of the fire’s most dramatic moments, however, was its spire, which collapsed, engulfed in flames on Monday night.
WATCH: Notre Dame fire — Paris fire brigade footage shows extent of cathedral blaze
Cell phone video captured from the scene shows the towering inferno leaning and finally collapsing, leaving gigantic puffs of flame and smoke in its wake.
And so fell one of the most iconic features of a cathedral whose construction began over 850 years ago, during the reign of Louis VII.
Built at a time when Paris’ population — and importance — were growing, construction carried on throughout the following century, with completion pegged in the year 1260.
Restoration later took place in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc led restoration work starting in 1844. He added the spire, along with sculptures of the apostles, as well as gargoyles and chimeras, National Geographic reported.
WATCH: People around the world react to fire at historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
The restoration happened after Victor Hugo published The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which told the story of Quasimodo, a hunchback and bell-ringer who took sanctuary in the cathedral.
Getty Images captured images of the burning spire at every moment before it collapsed:
- With files from Reuters