(WBNG) — Witnessing the burning of the Notre Dame firsthand, a group of local high school students from Maine-Endwell and Union-Endicott returned from France Friday night.
Haley Ritter, a senior at Union-Endicott High School, joined 14 other students on the trip. The group was wrapping up dinner when they got the news the monument was on fire.
“You hear Notre Dame is burning, like the symbol of Paris and also a symbol of Christianity, it’s really, really horrible,” said Ritter.
Just a few miles away from the monument at the time, “we just sat there and watched with all of Paris and it was crazy,” she said.
The group was set to tour the monument the next morning.
“It’s really sad because it’s such a historical place that I’ll never get to see in its original beauty,” said Ritter.
“Although the building will still be there, a lot of the french are saying that the soul of it is going to be gone,” said Jon Gerlach, a French teacher at Maine-Endwell High School who went on the trip.
Prosecutors are looking into whether an electrical short-circuit could have sparked the blaze.