LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD/GRAY NEWS) - Notre Dame Cathedral burned out of control for hours in the heart of Paris Monday, its spire collapsed, its roof destroyed and its priceless history inside consumed.
Emergency services responded to the scene, but the flames only seemed to grow taller and more intense before it could have any impact.
Worries of a full collapse appear to have been averted, however, with Laurent Nunez, the French secretary to the interior minister, saying the two iconic front-facing towers are safe with the fire “in a time of cooling.”
As night fell, yellow flames continued to roar within the shell of the historic church and as the fire slowly began to die down, an orange glow lingered over the church.
"Extensive damage to any cathedral church is devastating to local Catholics whose Mother Church is the cathedral. During Holy Week, the connection to the Mother Church is especially evident.
"I had the privilege of visiting Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral, in August 1977, while I was a seminary student in Rome.
"Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is an inspiringly beautiful structure—a genuine house of prayer for those who worship there and for all who seek the comfort of prayer in such a sacred place.
"In addition to the spiritual significance, Notre Dame Cathedral has great architectural and artistic significance. The cathedral’s overall gothic architecture, façade, as well as its stained glass windows, also give the cathedral historical significance and make it a centerpiece of the entire city of Paris.
"While we must await the final damage assessment, media images make it look like a tragic loss.
“We pray for our brother and sister Catholics in the Archdiocese of Paris, for the safety of those fighting the fire and for all the people of France. We entrust them all to the prayers and intercession of the Mother of God, our Holy Mother, Mary.”
The Vatican said: “The Holy See has seen with shock and sadness the news of the terrible fire that has devastated the Cathedral of Notre Dame, symbol of Christianity in France and in the world.”
The statement added that the Vatican is praying for firefighters “and those who are doing everything possible to confront this dramatic situation." It also expressed “our closeness to French Catholics and the population of Paris, and we assure our prayers for firefighters”