Notre Dame de Paris still stands; massive fire extinguished; experts assess structure, massive fire damage
April 16, 2019, 9amEDT — The initial assessment of fire damage at Notre Dame de Paris is underway.
The first priority of technicians assessing safety at the Notre Dame site will be to identify which parts of the surviving structure are potentially unstable, according to Robert Bowles from Britain’s Institution of Structural Engineers.
Next come the job of providing safe access for engineers to assess how unstable they actually are.
“The next priority will be to assess the risk of problems as the masonry cools down, and devise means of removing the charred timbers sitting on the top of the vaults so that the stone itself can be inspected,” he added.
“That will probably involve work from cranes – so the workers are not standing on something that might give way.”
Meanwhile, a probe into the origins of the blaze.
Police have begun questioning workers who were carrying out renovations at NotreDame Cathedral shortly before a devastating fire broke out at the historic monument in the centre of Paris on Monday evening.
The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened an inquiry into “involuntary destruction by fire”, indicating they believe the cause of the blaze was accidental rather than criminal.
Fifteen hours after the fire broke out, Paris firefighters confirmed it had been fully extinguished.
April 15, 2019, 9pmEDT — One of the most famous buildings in the world, and arguably the third most important house of worship in Roman Catholicism after San Pedro in Vatican City and San Marco in Venice, has suffered a cataclysmic blaze — yet still stands.
- A devastating fire that began on Monday afternoon has destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old UNESCO world heritage landmark, whose spectacular Gothic spire collapsed before the eyes of horrified onlookers.
- The main structure of Notre Dame, as well as its two towers, has been saved, according to the Paris fire brigade chief.
- The blaze has been brought under control, firefighters confirmed in the early hours of Tuesday morning. “The fire is completely under control. It is partially extinguished, there are residual fires to put out,” said a spokesman.
In their overnight update, Le Monde reports
The fire “is partially extinguished; there are residual fires to extinguish,” said the spokesman for Paris firefighters. The two towers of the cathedral are saved, but two-thirds of the roof has been ravaged. The Paris prosecutor’s office has opened a preliminary investigation into “involuntary fire destruction.”
The early report from EuroNews was dire:
A “significant fire” has broken out at Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris, according to the national police.
Smoke could be seen billowing out from the top of the medieval cathedral, as flames leapt out beside its two bell towers, a Reuters witness said.
The spire of the cathedral has collapsed.
— Patrick Galey (@patrickgaley) April 15, 2019
Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, deplores “colossal damage.”
The spire of the cathedral of Notre-Dame, struck by a vast fire , “has just collapsed on itself,” announced Monday Emmanuel Grégoire, first deputy mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, who deplores “colossal damage” ” .
“From now on, a special mission has been launched to try to save all the works of art that can be” . “Priority has been given to securing the surrounding area to protect tourists and residents from the risk of collapse,” he added on BFMTV.
NBC News confirmed at 2:08EDT through Paris fire department sources that the entire roof has collapsed. Both NBC and CBS report that Paris officials believe the cause of the fire is accidental.
The Guardian is running a regularly updated news feed on developments.