The photo is likely one of the last before the fire began
Yesterday, a shocking fire swept through Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris resulting in damage to the structure including the fall of its spire. The iconic 850-year-old landmark was engulfed in flames last night leaving the world watching in horror. But one image of hope appeared shortly after, and the photographer wants the world’s help finding the people in it.
“I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire. I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this,” Brooke Windsor wrote on Twitter. Shortly after posting it, the photo began circulating all over the world.
Windsor then provided additional clarification, saying, “I do not know for sure if it was a dad and daughter, it’s simply the dynamic I observed from them while debating on interrupting this moment. It may be an uncle, brother, friend, who knows until we find them.”
It was likely one of the last pictures taken before the fire erupted. Yesterday, Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo took to Twitter to update those close to the situation. “A terrible fire is underway at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. They @re trying to control the flames. We are mobilized on site in close connection with the @d . I invite each and every one to respect the perimeter of security,” she said.
Un terrible incendie est en cours à la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris. Les @PompiersParis sont en train de tenter de maîtriser les flammes. Nous sommes mobilisés sur place en lien étroit avec le @dioceseParis. J'invite chacune et chacun à respecter le périmètre de sécurité. pic.twitter.com/9X0tGtlgba
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) April 15, 2019
As the fire — which took almost nine hours to extinguish — burned on, hundreds gathered near the cathedral to pray and sing, including this haunting version of Ave Maria. The blaze continued on for several more hours, destroying the cathedral’s wooden roof and famous spire.
In addition to Windsor’s stunning picture above, there have been other signs of hope geared towards the restoration of Notre Dame. It will likely be weeks before a financial assessment can be made as to the damage caused, but France’s three wealthiest families, billionaires behind luxury brands LVMH Group, Kering, and L’Oreal, have already pledged millions to help rebuild the national icon, CNN reported, donating a whopping $700 million in total.
“This tragedy is striking all the French people, and beyond that, all those attached to spiritual values,” François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering (and husband of Salma Hayek), said in a statement. “Faced with this tragedy, everyone wishes to give life back to this jewel of our heritage as soon as possible.”
Windsor continued to provide information as more and more people shared her photo in the hopes of finding the man and child. “No, I have not been able to find the folks in the photo but I am hopeful. Twitter sure knows how to step up,” she wrote.
For all the negative aspects of social media, here’s hoping it can be used to find this adorable duo and share with them what will likely become a symbol of hope on a very dark day.