BEAUMONT, Texas — For Catholics in Southeast Texas, the Notre Dame Cathedral fire in Paris, France, hits close to home.
The historic church attracts millions of people each year and the world paused on Monday to watch a famous landmark get devoured by flames.
"To see it and look at it on television, just my gosh it's going down in flames," says Bishop Curtis Guillory. "It's just unbelievable."
Guillory learned about the fire while he was driving.
Guillory says "Finally, they said Notre Dame of Paris...I almost had to stop the car."
He spent the day glued to his TV and last visited the Notre Dame Cathedral in September.
Guillory says "Every time I would go to Paris, that's a must stop to attend mass and pray."
One medieval art expert called the Gothic church "One of the great monuments to the best of civilization."
The fate of priceless art and artifacts inside the cathedral remains unclear.
Pastor/Rector of the St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, Monsignor Jerry McGrath says "It was absolutely a tragedy, I actually started to tear up because it is one of the most pristine Catholic churches in the world."
McGrath tells us some of the features inside the Basilica in Beaumont match what you would find at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
"Our bell towers mimic Notre Dame and our rosette windows are very much mirrored upon the rosette windows that were really an innovation when Notre Dame was built," according to McGrath.
The cathedral was undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation when it caught fire.
"Even if they rebuild, it's never going to be the way it was," says Guillory. "All of the paintings, the sculptures, and the history, you can't really recapture that."
French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to rebuild Notre Dame and plans to launch an international fundraising campaign on Tuesday.
A French firefighter official told reporters the main structure of the cathedral was saved.
It appears the fire was an accident.