Parma firefighter discusses the logistical nightmare of trying to extinguish a massive cathedral fire

Parma firefighter discusses the logistical nightmare of trying to extinguish a massive cathedral fir

PARMA OH (WOIO) - It took nearly 200 years to build the Notre Dame Cathedral, and less than one day to destroy it.

Parma firefighter and spokesman TJ Martin said he would never want to be working on a day like this.

“It has to be unconscionable, 'cause you are protecting something that means so much to millions of people across the globe.” he said.

He explained the difficulty of working this type of structure fire, and that there are two modes. There is offensive, "and there is a defensive mode where you decide we are going to lose this part and save the rest, and apparently, that’s what they did,” said Martin.

He believes that was the best option since the building was so tall and hard to shower with water from the ground.

Martin said this is a very stressful situation for firefighters and for Catholics around the world.

At Sagrada Familia Church in Cleveland they are getting ready for Holy Week with saw dust rugs.

They prayed for everyone in Paris, especially the firefighters.

Ana Santiago, 17, was just in France several months ago. “Hearing that a place like that, such a very nice and overwhelming spiritual place was on fire was so devastating.” Santiago said. “I loved it there, and I’m glad I got to see it.”

Martin said he can’t imagine seeing the monument go up in flames. He is Catholic too. And having to witness this loss is simply shocking.

He said he would not want to be one of those 400 firefighters.

“To have that fall on your watch has a heart wrenching affect on those firefighters.”

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