PARIS, France – One of the world’s best- known buildings, the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was nearly destroyed by fire.
Hundreds of people to the streets of Paris, singing hymns, to honor the 800-year-old building.
Investigators think renovation on the upper levels may be the cause of the blaze.
Monday night, the landmark is still standing.
The two main towers have been salvaged, but most of the interior has been lost, and it’s iconic spire.
Some precious artwork did make it out though.
Thankfully no one was injured, but the tragedy is affecting some people here at home.
“It just breaks my heart, really,” said Dr. Tonia Tinsley, an associate professor of French at Missouri State University, “because there are so many times that I went there to go to mass or like for Easter that’s coming up. It really is tragic. To think that all of that history is lost.”
“I was immediately hurt, it was disbelief like, that cannot happen to an icon like that,” said Carole Ogden, a French teacher at Kickapoo High School, who also is from France, “for it to happen during holy week, is just shocking.”
She recalls the experiences when she visited, “to be able to sit there and be at mass, was important. That’s why I mentioned how beautiful it was to be there, and that means a lot to me.”
She said a cathedral is a quiet place in the middle of the city, a peaceful place.
“Somewhere that is really so incredibly important overall for the French identity,” Tinsley said.
“For the French, it’s Notre Dame,” said Ogden., “Notre Dame is the first thing, more important than anything. It’s their thing. When you say Notre Dame de Paris, it’s the lady of Paris. And the lady of Paris was on fire today, and that’s just really really sad.”
“People are not going to be able to go into the church and just feel how magnificent it is,” Tinsley said.
“Just the thought that it’s so many people have lost their home, you know,” Ogden explained, “that we have that same home.”
“It’s such a loss,” Tinsley said, “overall for humanity. It’s not the same as like the death of a person, but it’s irreplaceable.”
For now, French police say no deaths have been reported and it looks like no one was hurt.