4,000 miles away, Notre Dame fire strikes a chord on campus

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






One of the most iconic and religious buildings in the world suffered massive damage Monday evening after a fire broke out. The Notre Dame Cathedral fire started 5 or 6 minutes after the cathedral closed at 11:30 a.m. CST and burned for approximately nine hours before being contained.

With more than 12 million visitors every year, Notre Dame is the most popular destination in Paris, nearly doubling the number of visitors to the Eiffel Tower.

“It’s a symbol of Paris. I think seeing that destroyed just kind of hurts the French people. It is such a symbol for them,”

— AP European History teacher Kristen Mayfield

Among the millions of visitors in 2018, AP European History teacher Kristen Mayfield.

“It’s a symbol of Paris,” Mayfield said. “I think seeing that destroyed just kind of hurts the French people. It is such a symbol for them. I think it would be like if Congress all of a sudden got set ablaze, but I think it’s a lot more because it survived the French Revolution. It survived World War I and World War II, plans to actually blow up the building and destroy it. When the Catholic Church was banned during the French Revolution, it still stood. So the fact that it made it through all of that kind of shows the French resolve and then for it to just be a fire because of construction. It’s just really sad.”

Joining Mayfield on a trip to visit Notre Dame in 2018 was AP U.S. History teacher Emily Griffin who broke the news to Mayfield during Monday’s advisory period.

“It honestly makes me sick to my stomach just because historical landmarks are so important to preserving history,” Griffin said. “As a history teacher, and as somebody who appreciates history, it’s hard to see something so easily collapse that’s been around for years and has been so symbolic.”

One of the first on campus to see the news of the fire burning was senior Wade Glover, who visited Notre Dame with his family four months ago.

“It’s really sad just as both a work of art and just a cultural place in France,” Glover said. “I visited in December on Christmas Eve, and there were people everywhere. There’s even a plaque in the middle of the plaza in front of it, and it reads the ‘heart of Paris’. This cathedral is something that’s definitely a staple for that community but it’s also a world famous monument to Christianity, to famous architecture. There’s a lot that went into this building, and it’s so sad to see pictures of it and videos of it on fire. It’s heartbreaking.”

Visiting Notre Dame three times over the year, Monday’s fire hit Mayfield both professionally and personally.

It honestly makes me sick to my stomach just because historical landmarks are so important to preserving history,”

— AP U.S. History teacher Emily Griffin

“I teach world history and European history,” Mayfield said. “The cathedral is a big part of both. It’s a symbol of that style of Gothic architecture. I use it as an example, when I’m teaching that, for me personally. The first time I went to Europe, it was one of the first big buildings that really kind of stood out to me. And I mean, I was just an all with the architecture and the stained glass windows and the religious meaning behind it, but also just the cultural representation of it. So I think It’s very sad day.”

With the fire contained, French president Emmanuel Macron vowed to rebuild Notre Dame late Monday evening (CST).

“It is with pride I tell you tonight we will rebuild this cathedral,” Macron said in a news conference. “We will rebuild Notre Dame because it is what the French expect of us, it is what our history deserves, it is, in the deepest sense, our destiny.”