Quebec City firefighters are inspecting the roof at the Museum of Civilization, after a fire broke out Monday at around 1 p.m. ET.

Plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the roof of the building on Dalhousie Street in Old Quebec City.

It took about 40 firefighters several hours to contain the fire.

The extent of the damage in unknown, but officials said they fear some of the museum's First Nations artifacts may have been ruined by water damage.

Museum officials said they had time to throw tarps over some of the artifacts before leaving the burning building.

The museum, better known in the province as the Musée de la Civilisation, had been undergoing renovations. 

The fire broke out while workers were carrying out repairs to the exterior. Some witnesses said they saw an explosion on the scaffolding.

The museum was closed at the time. However, 200 employees were inside the building when the fire broke out. 

The building was evacuated safely and there were no reports of injuries.