All around the world, people were united in grief and shock as a fire engulfed the historic Notre Dame cathedral in the heart of Paris, with billowing smoke seen from miles away from the French capital’s center.
Hundreds gathered outside the cathedral, many in tears, as flames tore through the beloved building, causing the roof to collapse inward. French President Emmanuel Macron canceled a scheduled speech Monday to deal with the ongoing fire.
“Our Lady of Paris is in flames,” Macron said on Twitter. “Emotion for the whole nation. A thought for all Catholics and for all French. Like all our countrymen, I’m sad tonight to see this part of us burn.”
Nicolas Marang, 47, has lived in Paris for more than 25 years and took video as Notre Dame’s spire collapsed as the fire raged on. Marang told NBC News he was running along the Seine River when he saw the smoke, which looked like a “dark smog,” coming from the Notre Dame.
The scene outside the cathedral was “confusing and devastating,” according to Marang.
“Something just collapsed inside me. [It was] one of the worst things I’ve ever seen,” Marang said.
David Kang, 38, told NBC News he was on his way to his home in Paris when he passed by the Notre Dame when he noticed the flames. People stopped all around, in shock, and stood witness to the landmark’s destruction.
“It was an emotional experience. I see it every day on my way to home, it was so sad,” Kang said. “I don’t remember something like this ever happening. Notre Dame is the center of Paris.”
President Donald Trump called the Notre Dame one of the “great treasures of the world” during an economic roundtable event in Minnesota.
“[The cathedral] is beyond countries, that’s beyond anything, that’s part of our growing up, it’s a part of our culture, it’s a part of our lives,” Trump said.
Read more at NBC News.