Notre Dame Fire: ‘Situation Still Precarious’
PARIS–The morning after a massive fire gutted the Notre Dame cathedral, there was relief that many of the ancient artifacts had been saved but fears remained for the integrity of the Gothic stone building. Two-thirds of the timber roof is gone—it had been crafted from more than 13,000 oak trees, an entire forest reduced to kindling. Preliminary images of the devastated interior reveal a gaping hole where the 300-foot wooden spire once stood and smoke rising from the ashes of burning pews.
In the morning rain early Tuesday, Parisians and visitors gathered on the banks of the Seine to mourn the loss of a landmark that, for many, was personal. “This is a very meaningful spot for me,” said Heidi Waterfall, an American living in in Paris. “I feel a strong spiritual power when I go inside. I feel peace and joy.”
As was the case when the night the fire broke out, the South Dakota native was struck by the silence as people whispered and snapped photos on their phones. The night before she stood with thousands who watched in stunned silence as the cathedral burned and its famed spire tumbled to the ground. Then she heard a chorus she says she will not soon forget, the strains of people singing the Hail Mary.
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