Madison-Plains Spanish class tours Notre Dame Cathedral just before church burns

Notre Dame cathedral catches fire in Paris, Monday, April 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Lori Hinnant)

A Spanish class from Madison-Plains High School had just wrapped up a tour of Notre Dame Cathedral when the church caught on fire.

“We saw smoke sort of building up the buildings, went around the corner, and the whole spiral part of the cathedral was just engulfed in flames,” said Kyle Phillips, who is on the trip as a chaperone.

Phillips said they were forced to stay put as firefighters and emergency responders rushed to try to salvage what they could.

She said everyone was in disbelief about what was happening and all she could hear was the fire destroying centuries of history.

“Just how quiet it was. I mean we were standing probably two blocks away from where it was all happening and you could hear the flames crackling, you could hear the things breaking. I mean it was just eerie,” Phillips said.

In Columbus, a Catholic bishop watched the fire with heartache.

“Going to Paris, I cannot imagine going and not going to visit Notre Dame,” said Bishop Robert Brennan.

Bishop Brennan said the loss is even more significant during Holy Week, which one of the most important weeks for the Catholic church.

“Holy Week is a reminder to us also that we believe in the resurrection. Just as something like the cathedral of Notre Dame raises our sights and tells us to look up higher, this time the resurrection tells us to raise up higher,” he said.

The students and chaperones said they feel lucky they got a chance to see Notre Dame in all its beauty before the fire.