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Photo taken before Notre Dame fire inspires Twitter search for tourist family

Notre Dame fire inspires Twitter search for tourist family
Image by Leif Linding from Pixabay
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Image by Leif Linding from Pixabay

American tourist has put out a plea on social media to find two people she spontaneously photographed outside Notre Dame cathedral in Paris shortly before the historic landmark erupted in flames on Monday 15 April.

In a tweet posted the same day, Brooke Windsor, 23, said she took the photograph in question – which appears to show a father and daughter playing outside the beloved cathedral – about an hour before the fire broke out, admitting that she almost asked the father if he wanted the photograph but decided against it.

Given what happened next, she said she regrets the decision, and called for Twitter users to “step up” and help her find them. At last count, the post had been shared by over 66,000 users around the world (Windsor’s profile is now private so the Tweet cannot be share on embedded in pages outside the social network) but the subjects of the photo have not been found as yet.

The BBC reported that while Winsor was not convinced that the pair depicted in the photograph are father and daughter, she had come to this conclusion based on “the dynamic I observed from them while debating on interrupting this moment”.

Located on the Île de la Cité in the center of Paris, the gothic cathedral attracts millions of visitors each year and is home to a staggering number of priceless works of art. It dates back to the 12th century and is one of the world’s most famous tourist attractions.

The fire, which is currently being investigated as an accident, ravaged around two-thirds of the cathedral, causing the cathedral’s spire – which was shrouded in scaffolding as part of a US$6.8 million renovation project – to collapse and completely destroying its roof.

According to investigators – who have not yet been able to enter the building – the fire may have been caused by an electrical short circuit. They have reportedly been questioning workers at companies that were involved in the renovations.

Firefighters were able to save the cathedral’s historic façade, rose windows, and some of the priceless treasures kept within the cathedral, including the Holy Crown of thorns which is traditionally displayed in the cathedral on the first Friday of each month and every Friday during Lent.

Father Jean-Marc Fournier reportedly orchestrated the rescue of many relics in the cathedral treasury with the help of firefighters, forming a human chain and getting the artifacts out with just minutes to spare.

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Naomi Smith
Naomi is a UK-based Journalist, writer and online content creator with around six years experience. She has a master's degree in investigative journalism and experience working as a beat reporter, primarily covering aviation law, regulation and politics. She has written for online publications on a variety of topics, including politics, gaming and film.