Triangle residents, natives witness devastating Notre Dame fire

April 16, 2019 GMT

As fire investigators examine the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris after an intense fire Monday, Triangle residents are among those mourning the destruction.

Monsignor David Brockman, the pastor of the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral in Raleigh, called the loss devastating, especially to Catholics who regularly go to Mass there.

Notre Dame has inspired many, attracting 13 million visitors each year.

Brockman said the company that created Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral’s pipe organ used some of the patterns seen in the pipe organ that sits in Notre Dame.

A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alumna, Emily Jackson, is living in Paris and saw the cathedral in flames while she was walking home from the post office.

She posted photos and videos to Instagram, telling her loved ones she was safe.

“It’s awful,” she said in a video.

Notre Dame’s construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.

Kristen Schaffer, an associate professor at NC State University’s School of Architecture, said the fire will leave a hole in the fabric of Paris.

“When it’s created authentically by a group, and another group gets to touch it, that’s kind of a tactility, an authenticity that we don’t always have today,” Schaffer said.

Raleigh residents Joe Hyde and Meghan Jones toured the cathedral last weekend, visiting Paris on their honeymoon.

On Monday night, they stood among the crowd to watch it burn.

“I can see through the rose window in the front, and it looks like there’s fire on the inside as well,” Hyde told WRAL News via Facetime.

He described the prevailing emotion as shock.

“When the central spire fell, there was kind of a gasp, shock from the crowd,” Hyde said. “You can tell people are upset. I think it’s pretty disturbing. There’s just a lot of people standing and watching and crying.”