ATLANTA (CBS46) – Hours after the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was finally extinguished, some Atlanta residents who were in Paris returned home to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with stories of the historic event they witnessed.
Bob O’Neill and Rose Ferguson own an apartment in Paris, a few blocks from Notre Dame. They sent CBS46 incredible pictures of red and orange flames from Notre Dame peering over their apartment in Paris.
“After we got the pictures, we said we are going straight home because there is no way we are going to stay in Paris after we saw that happen,” said Bob O’Neill.
“I’ve never grieved for a thing,” Rose Ferguson said. “You grieve for the loss of people, but we are grieving for the loss at Notre Dame. The history, the beautiful architecture, the craftsmanship, the spirituality. It’s a gothic piece of beauty.”
Many tourists stood in complete shock and devastation to see Notre Dame as the fire ravaged the historic cathedral. People crowded onto the streets watching the quickly spreading blaze.
“People were just devastated and huddled around the tv in the small café to try to get an idea of what was happening,” said Kristen Silveus, who was returning to Atlanta Tuesday afternoon after visiting Paris with her fiancé.
Victor Barnes was in Paris with his colleagues from Coca-Cola over the weekend. He visited the Cathedral and shared pictures and videos with CBS46 as hymns played outside the church, just two days before it was nearly destroyed.
“I arrived on Saturday in Paris and it’s one of the first places I visited,” Barnes said. “I took pictures, took some video, and sent it to my mom and showed it to her. It was really ironic that three days later the structure was on fire.”
Tuesday afternoon at the Millenium Gate Museum, the French Consul General, Louis de Corail, hung the French flag on the arc of the museum during a tribute for Notre Dame. The flag of France will remain on Atlanta’s version of the Arc de Triomphe for the next month. He quoted French President Emmanuel Macron explaining that Notre Dame means so much to French citizens and the world and that the city will rebuild the treasure.