Topeka cathedral reflects on similarities between 1975 fire, Notre Dame

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - While the world is still reeling from the fire that raged through the Notre Dame cathedral this week, a couple of area church communities know all too well how it feels.

Kansas has seen a few beautiful churches fall victim to flames over the years.

When Immaculata Church at Saint Mary's Academy burned in 1978 its spire fell much like the spire at Notre Dame.

They eventually opted to raze the building.

Topeka's grace cathedral burned a few years earlier - but it was able to rise from the ashes.

In 1975 - the congregation of Grace Cathedral grieved much the way the world is grieving Notre Dame today.

Don Chubb, a local historian and deacon drew similarities between the two fires.

"Just as Topeka united behind this, Notre Dame is ... it's really a world artifact," he said.

"And I think the world is gonna get behind it."

Grace Cathedral's roof fell victim to an arson fire - while Notre Dame's fire is believed to be related to construction work - but Chubb says the flames spread the same way.

"And just like Notre Dame, Grace Cathedral had a false ceiling, above the ceiling, and that's where the fire started burning and nobody could control it," he said.

The rebuilding process was long and arduous.

"It took the engineers an awful long time to decide what was safe and what wasn't safe," he said.

Grace Cathedral's walls stood strong after the fire - providing the foundation for a new roof, as Notre Dame's walls will too.

Chubb says the scene in France is a reminder of the outpouring of support that helped rebuild Topeka's beloved cathedral.

"An awful lot of people have given us an awful lot to get us to where we are today," Chubb said.

To read the church's full story of rising from the ashes, visit the cathedral's website, www.gracecathedraltopeka.org