Notre Dame Fire: The Latest

Yesterday, the Notre Dame Cathedral suffered a devastating fire, which was finally extinguished after nine hours. The origin of the fire is yet unknown, and an investigation to determine its cause is already underway:
Once the flames were extinguished, there was a sense of relief that many of the ancient artefacts had been saved but the integrity of the Gothic stone building could still be unstable. Two-thirds of the timber roof is gone — it had been crafted from more than 13,000 oak trees, an entire forest reduced to kindling. Preliminary images of the devastated interior reveal a gaping hole where the 300-foot wooden spire once stood and smoke rising from the ashes of burning pews.

Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz announced on Tuesday that a full investigation would uncover how a massive fire was allowed to gut the cathedral.

"What we know at this stage is that there was an initial alarm at 6:20 p.m., followed by a procedure to verify this but no fire as found," Heitz explained. "Then, there was a second alarm at 6:43 p.m. and at that point a fire was detected in the structure."

"The investigation is going to be long and complex," he added. "We are in the process of interviewing witnesses."
The primary witnesses are the construction workers who had been working on the restoration of the spire, a four-year project which began a year ago as part of a larger restoration project on the cathedral that was scheduled to last 20 years. There were five different construction companies working on the spire project.
Initial reports point to an accident — and police say foul play has so far been ruled out — but investigators will want to know exactly what caused the first spark that led to such devastating destruction, and whether it could have been preventable.

Because much of the area where the fire is believed to have started has been reduced to ashes, there is little chance of finding material evidence. Thus, they say the investigation will be "long and complicated."
Because of the ongoing restoration work, many of the art pieces usually present at the cathedral were in storage, so there's some good news.

And last night, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered remarks at the site, while the building was still burning, during which he pledged to rebuild the landmark cathedral: "Notre-Dame is our history, our literature, part of our psyche, the place of all our great events, our epidemics, our wars, our liberations, the epicenter of our lives. ...Let's be proud, because we built this cathedral more than 800 years ago, we've built it and, throughout the centuries, let it grow and improved it. So I solemnly say tonight: we will rebuild it together."

He then announced a fundraising campaign, which has already had some significant donations, to say the least: The Pinault family has pledged €100 million ($113 million) toward the reconstruction efforts, with François-Henri Pinault saying, "Faced with such a tragedy, everyone wishes to revive this jewel of our heritage as quickly as possible."

It won't be easy, but the spire will one day rise again from the ash into the Paris skyline.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus