As flames leaped high engulfing Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, crowds of French people gathered in the streets from the historic Cathedral and in an impromptu act began to pray and sing as one.
Some kneeled, some folded their hands, and others sang with their eyes focused on the sky, that had gone from blue to yellow and orange, and filled with fire and acrid smoke.
It was reported that one large group of a couple hundred people knelt in prayer then with their voices rising joined in a communal hymn sung a cappella.
Also, elsewhere in Paris, hundreds, and then thousands of people lined the banks of the Seine River around the small island on which Notre Dame stands, watching in disbelief and horror.
As the flames spread along the roof of the structure and the famous spire burned and then collapsed. The heat from the flames became so intense it was even felt on the opposite side of the river Seine.
And the world watched in horror as the cathedral went up in flames as the iconic structure glowed bright red and smoke filled the skies while distraught Parisians gathered with many bowed in prayer in the streets as firefighters battled the blaze.
Officials are now considering the fire an accident, possibly as a result of the restoration work at the global architectural landmark.
What remains is a blackened shell of the monument immortalized in Victor Hugo’s 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” a building that has survived almost 900 years of tumultuous French history but was devastated amid the renovation works.
News that the fire was probably accidental has done nothing to ease the national mourning and French officials are pledging to rebuild the cathedral.
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