A viral video shows the moment a crowd of people sang “Ave Maria” as a fire ravaged the famed Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France, on April 15.
Crowds gathered at night to mourn its destruction after nearly 900 years standing. They held an impromptu vigil, singing the famed Franz Schubert composition.
The video was shot by Spanish journalist Ignacio Gil before he posted it on Twitter. They are seen standing on the Rue St Julien le Pauvre, according to reports.
Ave Maria pic.twitter.com/lb6Y5XV05a
— Ignacio Gil (@Inaki_Gil) April 15, 2019
The tweet was retweeted tens of thousands of times not long after going live.
The cause of the blaze is still not yet now and the extent of the damage is unclear. At one point, the church’s spire collapsed.
Firefighters said they saved the stone structure of the bell tower from collapsing, Reuters reported.
But the flames that began in the early evening burst rapidly through the roof of the centuries-old cathedral and engulfed the spire, which toppled, quickly followed by the entire roof.
As it burned into the evening, firefighters battled to prevent one of the main bell towers from collapsing. One firefighter was seriously injured—the only reported casualty.
“We now believe that the two towers of Notre-Dame have been saved,” Paris fire chief Jean-Claude Gallet told reporters at the scene. “We now consider that the main structure of Notre-Dame has been saved and preserved.”
This is the moment that the the Flèche or Spire of the Cathedral fellhttps://bit.ly/2DfGUAe
“The fire is now weaker,” said Laurent Nunez, French secretary to the interior minister, according to the New York Post. “We are now in a time of cooling but both towers of the cathedral are safe,” Nunez told reporters. “We’re still working to save the cathedral’s work of arts.”
Nicolas Marang, a local man, told Euronews that the fire is “an absolute nightmare.”
Wow! The Spire has fallen.https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-47942176
“I keep thinking about, all the culture. It is so delicate and now it’s all gone. It’s all burned,” he continued.
“People started taking pictures. Some people were crying. It was like being knocked out,” he added.
Historian Camille Pascal, meanwhile, was quoted by the BBC as saying that “invaluable heritage” was destroyed.
“For 800 years, the Cathedral has watched over Paris”, he said. “Happy and unfortunate events for centuries have been marked by the bells of Notre Dame. We can be only horrified by what we see”.
We’re getting to see some of the first images from inside Notre Dame Cathedral. President Macron: “‘I say to you very solemnly this evening, this cathedral will be rebuilt.” https://t.co/9D4jdaIsod pic.twitter.com/ZJ7ug4FUYt
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) April 15, 2019
France President Emanuel Macron vowed to restore the cathedral, saying, “From tomorrow, a national subscription will be organized in France and beyond our borders.”
“We will call on the most talented people, and there are many of them, and they will come and contribute to this appeal. We will rebuild the cathedral. We will rebuild Notre Dame. It’s what the French expect. This is what our history deserves. This is our deep destiny,” he said.