IVCC Student at Notre Dame


Submitted Photo

IVCC student Elizabeth Peruba snapped this photo of the Notre Dame Cathedral just moments before it went up in flames this April.

Elle Bottom, IV Leader Reporter

Notre Dame Cathedral went up in flames at approximately 6:30 p.m. on April 15, causing around $1 billion in damages. Investigators are still trying pinpoint the cause of the blaze, but experts say there is no link to terrorism or arson.

The church is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Paris, and nearly 34,000 people visit every day. It just so happens that an IVCC student was there just a few hours before the cathedral caught fire.

Elizabeth Peruba, a sophomore at IVCC, and her family were on vacation in Paris, France, when the fire broke out. Peruba recalls the reactions of the locals and how she felt when the historic church burst into flames.

“We were on a bike tour and suddenly saw a ton of smoke in the air,” Peruba said. “There was so much smoke at first, we thought they were just huge clouds. Our tour guide became a little nervous and said she thought something had to be on fire, but we continued. My dad checked his phone and quickly discovered Notre Dame was on fire.

“Our tour guide instantly became terrified and didn’t know what to do. At this point, no one knew what the cause was so everyone became panicked wondering if it could possibly be a terrorist attack. We tried to continue our tour, but roads began to close, and the town became panicked. People were crying as they just watched the church in flames. Our tour guide quickly rushed us back to the bike office,” she said.

Peruba went back to Notre Dame to see the aftermath of the disastrous blaze.

“Once the fire calmed down, people got as close as they can and just stared. Everyone was in disbelief. Many took pictures, cried or sang,” she said.

Peruba and her family are some of the last Americans to see Notre Dame Cathedral in its full beauty, and she cannot believe that the fire claimed it so quickly.

“I feel lucky to have experienced Notre Dame. The fact that I had just been exploring the church the day before felt unreal. I watched the church burn and thought about exploring it the day prior,” she stated.

Notre Dame Cathedral had survived the plague, wars and even Nazis. Nine hundred years of history, untouched by disaster, now has fallen by a massive inferno.

While it is a religious symbol, it is also a symbol of European culture with its advanced French Gothic architecture dating back to the eighth century. The iconic gargoyles, stained glass windows, western façade and the 295-foot spire have captivated people worldwide.

The cathedral’s boldness, grace and beauty are hard to replace. It truly is a masterpiece that represents Catholic tradition at its absolute highest, and plans have been arranged to rebuild the structure