Late Monday afternoon, a vehicle fire suddenly broke out on Paris’s famous Ile de la Cite. Fire brigades were quickly on the scene and, after several hours of work into the evening, were finally able to declare the car – a classic Citroen — salvageable.

The scene Monday afternoon, just as firefighters arrived.

Onlookers were kept at a safe distance, with a mixed reaction among thousands of locals and tourists: A combination of tears, confusion, and anger.

“How could this happen?” asked Italian tourist Giuseppe Palazzo. “I did not know French cars were so much like Italian cars. We truly are all alike in this world.”

Automotive historians quickly took to social media to explain the significance of Citroen to the world, including a long history of innovation and uniqueness that has remained unmatched in much of the automotive world, even today.

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As the fire became contained Monday night, Parisian Mayor Anne Hidalgo announced that the city would rebuild the vehicle exactly as before, but with additional improvements such as braided steel fuel and brake lines. “We Parisians have never been known to stand idly by and let our city be overrun by disaster.”

From a distance, the smoke can be seen billowing up from behind a church.

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Just minutes after the flames were extinguished, insurance inspectors announced the car was actually an early 1980s Citroen Dyane, not a classic 2CV as previously believed. The collective sigh of relief from the crowd reignited the flames, destroying the remains of the vehicle and injuring two firefighters.