Local community reacts to Notre Dame Cathedral fire

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The massive fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral today isn’t only impacting those in France, it’s also affecting people right here in mid-Michigan.

6 News spoke with a French professor at Michigan State University today and the president of the school’s French club. They say seeing the cathedral in person was breathtaking, and to see it today on fire was heartbreaking.

“I was in class and one of my students interrupted class about ten minutes before the end and say, oh my God, my dad just texted me that Notre Dame is on fire,” said Anne Violin-Wigent, an associate professor of French at MSU.

Violin-Wigent says when she first heard the news today about Notre Dame she was shocked.

“I dismissed class early because I was concerned about what was going on and I really wanted to know,” said Violin-Wigent.

“It was just huge flames happening and it brought back a lot of memories of when I was in France, when I was studying abroad,” said Jackson Arold, the president of MSU’s French Club.

Arold says while this fire is tragic, it’s also bringing people together in a divided political climate.

“Within the past six months they’ve had the big yellow vest movement, which is a big political fight that they’ve been fighting with the president,” said Arold.

Both say this fire doesn’t just touch the hearts of those in Paris, but is making an impact worldwide.

“It’s one of the most visited cathedrals in the world so I feel like people have a big connection to that,” said Arold.

“It survived the French revolution, it survived the war and all the bombings that happened during World War II, and to think that renovation or an accident could destroy the roof of such a beautiful place is very sad,” said Violin-Wigent.

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