Pine-Richland French Club students witness Notre Dame Cathedral fire
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | 11:16 AM
Thirty minutes after members of Pine-Richland High School’s French Club visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the iconic fixture was ablaze.
The students watched and took photos as parts of the 850-year-old church burned before them.
“The loss of such a cultural and religious staple is truly devastating,” senior Elaina Harris said via email. “Being there to witness such an important moment in history was something I will never forget.”
A group of 38 students, four adult chaperones and three district employees set out to travel to Paris as part of the club’s trip on April 15 on two different flights. One flight was delayed until the next day.
The group that arrived on time was able to visit Notre Dame before the fire that resulted in the spire collapsing and left the roof destroyed.
According to the Associated Press, a speedy evacuation meant no one was killed during the fire, and investigators believe the blaze was an accident that could be related to renovation work.
The AP reports French President Emmanuel Macron has set a five-year deadline to restore Notre Dame, and nearly $1 billion has been raised so far for such efforts.
“I sincerely hope that their efforts in rebuilding are able to preserve what has been lost,” Harris said.