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Smoke could be seen coming through the windows of the cathedral

A fire that broke out at the cathedral in the western French city of Nantes has been contained, firefighters say.

Images from the scene show a substantial fire and smoke billowing from inside the Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul cathedral, which dates from the 15th Century.

The cause of the blaze is not known.

It comes only a year after the devastating fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, one of France’s greatest architectural treasures.

However, the local fire service said the damage in Nantes was not on a comparable scale.

“The damage is concentrated on the organ, which appears to be completely destroyed. The platform it is situated on is very unstable and risks collapsing,” local fire service chief Laurent Ferlay told reporters.

More than 100 firefighters are currently at the scene. Crews were called out at about 07:44 (05:44 GMT), according to BFM TV. They have urged people to avoid the area.

An eyewitness told the LCI 24-hour news network that he could see the fire from his home, not far from the cathedral. He said he was woken up by “a very strange sound of bells”.

“From what I can see, there is more and more smoke,” he said.

This is not the first fire at the cathedral. It was damaged by Allied bombing in 1944, during World War Two, and then in 1972, its roof was largely destroyed.

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Firefighters urged people to avoid the area

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