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Why the large Notre Dame hearth was so laborious to struggle

Why the massive Notre Dame fire was so hard to fight

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Why the large Notre Dame hearth was so laborious to struggle


Church fires of all sizes, together with Monday’s large blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, are typically “actually very laborious to struggle,” in keeping with CBS Information Radio correspondent Invoice Rehkopf, a volunteer firefighter for 30 years.

“I am not there, [but] simply wanting it, it is as if the dye was most likely solid by the point firefighters arrived,” Rehkopf advised CBSN.

The fireplace was excessive up on the roof, which Rehkopf mentioned offered a logistical problem. Additionally, the cathedral sits on an island in the midst of the River Seine, which can have made it tough for firefighters to get their equipment into place.

If there was a possibility to get in and rescue a few of the cathedral’s priceless artistic endeavors, firefighters would most definitely do it, Rehkopf mentioned. However giant statues and big spiritual artifacts would nearly definitely be not possible to take away. And firefighters must be involved in regards to the structural integrity of the stone partitions, which can have been weakened by the extreme warmth.

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“You could possibly attempt to go inside and do one thing with it, however with the entire flammable materials inside a church and with these outdated timbers that construct up and comprise the trusses of the roof, they go up like tinder, and you do not need to put your individuals within the street of something that may collapse,” he mentioned. “I am simply afraid the losses at this level can be tragic.”

Rehkopf mentioned the fireplace offered a worst-case state of affairs for firefighters.

“All the roof construction between the place the spire stood and the bell towers has collapsed into the cathedral itself,” he mentioned. “Now you’ve got received the fireplace and you have the timbers and you have the wreckage down into the nave of the constructing, and that is the place the artifacts and the artistic endeavors are that individuals are so justifiable involved about.”

Paris police mentioned the reason for the blaze on the 12th-century cathedral was unknown, however the hearth was “doubtlessly linked” to the renovation work being carried out on the web site, French media quoted the Paris hearth brigade saying.

“The investigators will look very, very intently at that after they get issues in management and are in a position to interview the individuals who had been there and across the scene,” Rehkopf mentioned.

He added that there have been various doable causes for the fireplace — from {an electrical} downside to one thing so simple as a tossed cigarette.

“Whether or not it is any person engaged on a roof or any person outdoors of their home, casually throwing a cigarette right into a potted plant subsequent to vinyl siding, which is like liquid gasoline when it catches hearth, from the smallest of sparks — and we have seen this with the wildfires out west — you’ll be able to see such devastation,” he mentioned. “And that is why firefighters are at all times preaching prevention and consciousness about the place you are doing issues.”

Fire burns Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris © Offered by CBS Interactive Inc.
Fireplace burns Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

One other issue was the heavy wind Rehkopf mentioned was pushing towards the entrance of the cathedral.

“As an alternative of burning towards the again the place [firefighters] might need been in a position to include [the fire] and attempt to preserve the entrance of the constructing safe, the wind pushed that fireside alongside the roof line as much as the enduring bell towers,” he mentioned.

Rehkopf mentioned the fireplace won’t ever be forgotten by those that fought it.

“Firefighters actually had their arms full once they received right here in the present day, and definitely that is one that they will return and discuss for the remainder of their careers,” he mentioned.



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