Huge fire destroys roof of cathedral in French city of Nantes

Credit: RTV

Firefighters have been tackling a devastating fire that struck a cathedral in the French city of Nantes on Monday morning.

The blaze, which has destroyed the roof of the Basilique Saint-Donatien in Brittany's major city, is believed to have been accidentally started by two roofers working on the basilica, according to France Bleu Loire Ocean which tweeted the information.

Images and videos of the incident show huge flames at one end of the basilica, one of two in the city, and a large pall of smoke rising into the sky.

The fire began just after morning Mass and everyone inside was quickly evacuated, the Rev Benoit Bertrand of the Nantes diocese told BFM television.

Forty firefighters and aircraft were deployed but the flames quickly ravaged the rooftop, leaving just a shell.

"I see flames still escaping," Rev Bertrand said.

Nantes, the sixth largest city in France with a population of around 900,000, is the capital city of the Pays de la Loire region.