1000 years up in flames


Photo provided by: Aurora Jimenez Castro

Drawing of the Notre Dame Cathedral as it burst into flames.

Joelle Wittig, News Editor

Nearly one thousand years ago, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France was built. On the evening of April 15, it was nearly destroyed when the historic landmark was engulfed in flames. Cathedral security officers evacuated before the fire escalated and fortunately no one was injured. Regardless, it took nine hours for 400 firefighters to completely extinguish the flames and the fire resulted in tremendous damage to the ancient building, including a fallen spire.

“The tragedy has affected so many people because Notre Dame represents the beauty and richness of the French culture and is an important part of their history,” French teacher Jan Petrino said. “I was relieved to hear that it was an accident, but still devastated to see the damage caused by the fire. Watching the spire crumble was horrifying.”

The cause of the fire is still unknown, but as police continue to investigate, theories have been made using the little evidence found. Some believe potential causes include a computer glitch, an electrical short-circuit within the building, or an electrical problem in the elevator since speculation points to the fire beginning at the bottom of the spire, while others attribute the fire to a construction error or cigarette smoking in the building. Regardless of cause, the fire created remorse that spread around the world.

“When I heard about the fire I was at first sad, coming from Europe and living there and remembering it was such a beautiful place,” sophomore Malachi Page said. “But then looking back at the actual tragedy and seeing that millions of dollars were being raised in 13 hours and realizing the many other problems we have in the world, like world hunger and world poverty, and how if that much money could be raised for stolen artifacts and stuff that was taken from other cultures, why can’t we raise that much money for stuff that’s going on as a whole world? I’m not saying it’s not sad but it’s very miniscule compared to the other problems we have in the world.”

Just two days after the fire, a total of one billion dollars were donated to the reconstruction of the Notre Dame Cathedral. The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, promises that the Cathedral will be rebuilt in a mere five years time. In addition to French families and fundraisers, such as the Bettencourt Meyers family and the Fondation du Patrimoine, people from all over the world came together to support Paris.

“I have taken four years of the French language where I learned about the Cathedral and I housed a french exchange student who saw it and who was very upset when I texted her about it so I felt some empathy because of those experiences,” AP French student senior Aubrey Brown said. “I think that with today’s technology, the effort to rebuild it will be successful in looks, but I feel it still won’t have the same feel and knowledge that the original version [had].”