West Reacts to Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

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West Reacts to Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

By Marija Kraljevic, Staff Writer

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The historic Notre Dame Cathedral burned on Mon. Apr. 15. The damage of the fire was immense as it destroyed the iconic spire built in the 19th century and the wooden oak roof built in the 13th century. The ancient vaulted ceiling collapsed in the nave. The 850-year-old monument may never be the same; it could take months before rebuilding can begin.

The cause of the fire is still unknown but investigations to determine the source are ongoing. The flames were brought under control after approximately nine hours, according to firefighters at the scene. Sophomore French student Sydney Bobiles just visited the cathedral as part of a spring break field trip to France.

“I was totally in shock. I had just been there at the cathedral a few weeks ago. It’s so sad to see something so beautiful and historic go up in flames the way that it did,” Bobiles said.

Sophomore Vaneeza Siddiqui was recently in France for her birthday and visited the cathedral while in the city.

“I couldn’t believe the news when I heard about it. To think that this historical monument was destroyed the way that it was is so tragic,” Siddiqui said.

French teacher Leslie Natzke has been to the Notre Dame Cathedral at least four times, twice with groups of students. Her discovery of the destruction sparked sadness within her.

“Like many people, I was shocked and sad. Notre Dame held art, literature, and history. When we think ‘old’ in the U.S., we think of 200, maybe 300 years. Notre Dame was built in the 1100s. It took 100 years to build and there were constant changes. It is more than a church,” Natzke said. “There was also a lot of medieval and renaissance art that the fire destroyed. Some pieces, fortunately, had been taken out because of the construction, and specialists from the Louvre were taking pieces out during the fire.”

Even though the cause of the fire remains unknown, many believe it was some sort of construction accident. Numerous donations and funds have been sent to help rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral to restore its beauty.

“Knowing the French, this fire will be somehow incorporated into the history and the beauty of the building,” Natzke said.