A Waterloo resident was one of the last people to set foot inside Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France before the fire on Monday.

Thirty minutes before flames broke out, Alexandra Fong toured the inside of the world-renowned monument.

"We had left to go have a meal a street over and then all of a sudden we saw smoke billowing from the towers,” Fong says.

Flames broke out in the 12th century cathedral around 7 o’clock local time.

When the 21 year old realized Notre Dame was on fire, she joined hundreds of people on the bank of the Seine who had gathered to watch in disbelief.

“Some of them were crying, some people were taking photos,” Fong says. “We just watched as the big spire collapsed.”

Fong, a McGill University student on exchange in Scotland, was vacationing in France before exams.

She says it’s a heart-breaking scene she will never forget.