SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — San Francisco Mayor London Breed and other Bay Area politicians sent out statements in solidarity with Paris after a catastrophic fire Monday ravaged much of the iconic Notre Dame cathedral.
The iconic spire at the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris collapsed after the massive fire broke out.
- CBS News Coverage: Notre Dame Spire Collapses As Fire Rages At Iconic Paris Cathedral
Paris is one of San Francisco’s sister cities and the twin towers and other designs of Notre Dame served as principal influences in the architecture of San Francisco’s own famous cathedral, Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill.
“As we watch the devastation at Notre Dame Cathedral, San Francisco’s thoughts are with the people of Paris, our Sister City, and those who continue to battle the flames,” Breed wrote on Twitter.
Officials later lit up San Francisco City Hall in the colors of the French flag in solidarity.
Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, also wrote on social media to express sadness about the fire.
“My heart breaks for Paris & all who have a place in their heart for .NotreDame Cathedral,” Speier wrote on Twitter. “It’s weathered war, revolution & natural forces for nearly 1000 years. Watching the spire collapse was like a dagger to the heart. Praying for the firefighters & city.”
Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco also expressed her condolences, saying that the images of the destructive fire were “heartbreaking” while assuring the people of Paris “that America stands with you.”
Veronique Bohne, a French citizen who lived in Paris before moving to San Francisco, says she’s been crying all day. Especially after watching video on social media.
“When I heard about it, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it,” said Bohne. “You see the spire collapsing… that’s when I burst into tears.”
More than 800 years old, the Notre Dame Cathedral burned for hours. It started in an area where a refurbishment project was underway, but what exactly sparked the fire is still under investigation.
For the people of France and the 13 million tourists who visit it every year, the Notre Dame Cathedral is more than a large Church; it’s a historical icon.
French expatriates at San Franciscos Cafe de La Presse were stunned to see the structure swallowed up in flames.
“Notre Dame is kind of the soul of Paris,” said Thomas Meyer.
“The roof is gone. The roof collapsed,” said Olivier Dardion. “It’s really, really upsetting. Part of our culture is gone.”
Officials in Paris said the cathedral has suffered major damage, but they do believe the landmark rectangular towers have been preserved. Though some interior parts of the church are still in danger of collapsing, they say the main structure has been saved.
“Hopefully they’ll be able to rebuild it. But it would be different, I guess,” said Dardion.
“We’ll rebuild it. But it’s still really, really sad,” said Bohne.