The historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris became engulfed in flames Monday evening as the world's 1.2 billion Catholics begin celebrating Easter week.
Construction began in 1163 and took almost two centuries to complete. Nearly 900 years of history crumbled before the world's eyes in mere seconds. Twelve million tourists visit the medieval church every year.
So when President Donald Trump felt the need to chime in, tweeting that firefighters should employ "flying water tankers" to quench the blaze, Twitter was having none of it.
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used… https://t.co/chuLADsVgU— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1555349988.0
The internet responded: STFU.
@realDonaldTrump STFU!— Jeffrey Guterman (@Jeffrey Guterman)1555350005.0
@realDonaldTrump It's 700 years old, but hitting it with thousands of gallons of water from the sky shouldn't cause too much damage.— Mike Pawlowski (@Mike Pawlowski)1555350529.0
@realDonaldTrump What the fuck is wrong with you?— Pé Resists (@Pé Resists)1555350162.0
@realDonaldTrump "must act quickly," what awesome advice! oh my god, it's a good thing you mentioned that because o… https://t.co/Tf8ln7Mu9n— Jeff Tiedrich (@Jeff Tiedrich)1555350400.0
@realDonaldTrump The Paris Fire Department is certainly not checking your feed for advice.— Tommy Campbell (@Tommy Campbell)1555350092.0
@realDonaldTrump Flying water tankers? Are you high?— AltMountRainier 🇺🇸 (@AltMountRainier 🇺🇸)1555350034.0
Trump demonstrated his fire expertise last fall when he suggested that a lack of raking causes forest fires.
Trump also credited "bad environmental laws" and water being "diverted into the Pacific Ocean" for the rash of wildfires that swept through California.
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing m… https://t.co/V94EEYqoHv— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1533592422.0
Stay in your lane, Donald.
@realDonaldTrump Maybe they can just rake the sky.— **El Supremo** (@**El Supremo**)1555350029.0
@realDonaldTrump perhaps if they had raked the roof.....— Something Fishy (@Something Fishy)1555350112.0
@realDonaldTrump You (obviously) don't know how long it takes to FILL UP one of those planes, let alone get it airb… https://t.co/6BMWdNhrx1— Private Joker, USMC (@Private Joker, USMC)1555350122.0
@realDonaldTrump You don't think dumping tons of water on a compromised structure would you know what? Just go ba… https://t.co/w8f6fTJ9J2— KorGhee (@KorGhee)1555350188.0
@realDonaldTrump Are those flying water tankers part of your supersonic Space Force?— Lesley Abravanel🆘 (@Lesley Abravanel🆘)1555350265.0
The blaze began around 7 p.m. (France time) in a section of roof that was undergoing renovations. The 750-ton spire in the center of the structure - added right over the altar in the 1860s - collapsed roughly an hour later as the flames continued to spread.
The rest of the roof imploded shortly thereafter, according to eyewitnesses. An investigation has been opened to determine what sparked the inferno at the world's preeminent example of French Gothic architecture.
Cathedral officials said that the interior wooden framework and iconic stained glass are completely destroyed and there are efforts underway by first responders to salvage irreplaceable relics and artwork. As of this publication, witnesses report that the flames have spread into the familiar twin stone bell towers and continue to burn.
Prior to arriving on the scene, French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement he is "sad to see this part of us all burn." He is treating the fire as a national emergency and has committed to using all available means to combat the blaze - except for airdropping water, which authorities say would further endanger the structure.
UPDATE (3:55 p.m.):
MSNBC has reported that officials from the French Interior Ministry are saying Notre Dame Cathedral probably cannot be saved. The loss from the fire may be total.
UPDATE (5:30 p.m.):
Notre Dame Cathedral has been "saved from total destruction," officials say, noting that first responders were able to salvage the stone edifices of the 14th century building. One firefighter was "seriously" injured battling the blaze.
Macron called upon the world's best architects and engineers to help restore Notre Dame. "We will rebuild," he said at a press conference.