CHICAGO (FOX 32) - French President Emanuel Macron is vowing to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral and launch a national fundraising campaign to help restore the monument after a devastating fire broke out at the landmark Monday.
Officials say the fire-ravaged two-thirds of the cathedral's roof and its iconic spire, but firefighters managed to save Notre Dame's famous rectangular towers. Officials say the fire may be linked to repairs that were underway.
People we spoke to on Michigan Avenue in Chicago were deeply moved by pictures of Paris’ ancient cathedral ablaze, especially those who said they had personally visited Notre Dame.
“I definitely feel for the people in France! That's really sad!” said a Chicago resident.
Although the fire ruined Notre Dame in a few hours, it took medieval Christians nearly two centuries to build it, beginning about the year 1160.
It survived as countless bloody struggles and revolutions were waged around it, becoming a beloved symbol of European civilization. As it burned, hundreds of people in Paris fell to their knees in prayer, others spontaneously singing hymns.
As former President Obama posted a photo of his family's visit, Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote: “We stand arm in arm with the French people, whose church helped to establish our own diocese, knowing that just as our city once rose from ashes, Paris’ great cathedral will again reach for the heavens."
“Paris is a strong city,” said Roberto Castrejon, a Chicago resident. “Paris is -- you know, the French are known for being resilient.”
Before Monday’s massive fire, preservationists estimated Notre Dame needs about $185 million in work. The French government and the Catholic church said they didn't have that money, so stopgap repairs worth about $7 million were underway, a project that may have some triggered this tragic blaze.