Suncoast residents share their experience of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France and react to destructive fire

The Suncoast mourns with Paris

SARASOTA (WWSB) - It’s a trip Alberto Zapata and his wife Emily will never forget.

The last leg of their European vacation has them in Paris, France on Monday. The Bradenton couple is staying at a hotel two blocks from the Notre Dame Cathedral as the historic landmark is destroyed by a fire. They sent us this photo from earlier in the day and a photo that was taken a little later in the day.

“It was mayhem, sirens going everywhere, everything’s been closed, smoke everywhere,” said Zapata.

Zapata tells us he’s in shock over this devastation because he and his wife just walked through there Monday morning, but he’s uplifted by what he’s seeing around him.

“You see a lot of French people here gathered around the Cathedral, they’re all singing,” said Zapata.

Longtime Sarasota resident Dan Patterson and his wife visited the Notre Dame Cathedral back in June of 2017. This holy place has a very special meaning for him because he burned a candle there for his mom who had passed away, so he tells us it’s very upsetting to see what’s happening there Monday.

“It’s kind of a sad moment, even though I’m not Catholic, it’s like the news talks about how everybody is drawn to that church because of the historic value and just a special memory of actually being able to visit there,” said Patterson.

This fire is on the minds of a lot of people on the Suncoast. The Most Reverend Frank Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese here in Venice says he is deeply shocked and saddened by the magnitude of Monday’s fire and he is sending out prayers.

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