What to Know
- A photojournalist from New Jersey was visiting Paris with his wife when Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire
- He jumped into action after the two heard sirens, capturing images of the flames that engulfed the landmark
- He says he'll always remember the moment the spire fell. "It's a sound I won't forget... that many people all sighing at once"
Photojournalist Brian Hester was eating dinner with his wife in Paris on Monday when the two heard sirens nearby.
The Wayne, New Jersey residents were on vacation, but they couldn’t ignore the alarming sound, he said.
Not long after, Hester was capturing images of the fire that engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral, toppling its spire and destroying its roof.
“We heard the fire and the sirens and the smoke, and so we had to get down there and get some pictures of what was going on,” said Hester, who travels between New York and New Jersey taking photos of events and never leaves home without his camera.
Hester says he'll always remember the moment the spire fell to the flames.
“It’s a sound I won’t forget,” he said. “That many people all sighing at once, you know?”
As the photojournalist worked to capture photos of the fire, his wife, Marianne Hester, joined bystanders and shared in their grief.
“People had tears and people had their hands over their hearts and their mouths. It was just quiet. Some people were singing,” she said.
“They knew they were watching… something that symbolized their country just kind of go.”
The fire at the beloved cathedral burned for more than 12 hours. French President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to rebuild the landmark within the next five years.