Savannah reacts to tragic fire at Notre Dame in Paris

Savannah reacts to Notre Dame fire in Paris

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - As crowds visited the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist Monday afternoon, the tragedy in Paris was on everyone’s mind.

The loss of cultural landmark Notre Dame is surely being felt around the world. It resonates with the City of Savannah as the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist caught fire in 1898. Father Gerry Schreck tells WTOC practically all that was left where the walls and two stained glass windows that are still there today. We met locals and tourists alike who are waiting along with those in Paris to see what’s left.

“They started construction in the year 1100, and how do you replace that? You can’t," said Rich Dorval, Charleston.

David Wickwire says he saw the fire on televisions at lunch. Their group from Charleston visited the Cathedral Monday afternoon.

“You know,they had it on the news in the restaurant. We saw the fire just coming out of the spire and the whole roof being engulfed," Wickwire said.

“It really is so special. They are so big and so beautiful and so meaningful, and impossible to replace.”

Wickwire says he was thinking back to when he visited Notre Dame in the 80s.

“I’m extremely saddened by the what I imagine the damage of the irreplaceable artifacts that may have been destroyed by a result of that fire," said Father Gerry Schreck, The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.

Father Schreck of Savannah had the opportunity to visit Notre Dame several times. Now, he’s remembering the overwhelming beauty of the Cathedral.

“To see the stained glass windows that are there, and at different times in the day, the light is different and they are just beautiful. I’m hoping that those windows will survive they represent a kind of craftsmanship that doesn’t exist anymore," he said.

The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah burned in 1898. Father Schreck says during Holy Week, this tragedy acts as a reminder of the resurrection of Christ. hoping for the rebuild of not only the church, but also the community.

“It’s one of the most recognizable and famous buildings in the world, which is why its such a tragedy - not just for the Catholic church but for the whole world that there would be damage to such an iconic place.”

Firefighters are still fighting back flames that engulfed the cathedral. The city’s mayor says firefighters are optimistic that they can salvage the main towers. Residents who live nearby have been evacuated.

There are no plans for Easter Sunday in Paris yet.

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