Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
SUBSCRIBE
 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

About an hour before the heartbreak Monday at Notre Dame Cathedral, there was joy.

A tourist named Brooke Windsor said she captured a heartfelt scene of an unidentified man and a beaming little girl playing together in front of the cathedral, shortly before a catastrophic fire overtook the more than 850-year-old Paris landmark.

"I took this photo as we were leaving #NotreDame about an hour before it caught on fire,'' Windsor wrote. "I almost went up to the dad and asked if he wanted it. Now I wish I had. Twitter if you have any magic, help him find this."

On Thursday, she shared an update: The man in the photo had been located.

"The photo has reached the dad & family. He has chosen to remain anonymous in the wake of tragedy, and writes: 'Thanks again for that beautiful photo, we will find a special place for it,'" she wrote.

As the cathedral burned and firefighters fought to contain the flames, many were reduced to tears; others gathered to pray and sing hymns. The blaze destroyed the cathedral's wooden roof and toppled its spire.

Windsor's image went viral on Twitter, drawing an emotional response.

Firefighters were able to save the building from being completely destroyed by the blaze, which they had extinguished by Tuesday.

Though an investigation is ongoing, French officials so far call the blaze unintentional.

A worldwide fundraising campaign to restore the cathedral has already raised hundreds of millions of dollars.