Notre Dame

We were just there a couple years ago. These pictures are devastating. How could it happen? Was it arson?

[Mid-afternoon update]

Good news: They’re reporting now that the structure has been saved, including the north belfry, but that much of the roof will have to be rebuilt. Not to mention, of course, the spire.

20 thoughts on “Notre Dame”

    1. I think everyone from the workmen to the mayor is going to get put through the eye of a needle.

      Obviously they could anticipate that this cathedral, like all of them, was a fire waiting to happen during any major renovation.

      Obviously any fire protection measures were completely inadequate, such has having sufficient pre-positioned fire-fighting equipment, personnel, sprinklers, or whatever else might be required to contain a blaze.

      Yet a long list of officials had to sign off on everything that was being done.

      The building was full of irreplaceable and extremely old art work, and hopefully they carried enough insurance to replace all of it.

      1. I’m hearing that much of the art had been removed from the spire before renovations, and that the rest was saved after the fire broke out (though, of course, not the stained glass or ancient oak roof).

        1. If the art wasn’t destroyed, then the fire is just a very aggressive and ham-handed renovation. I read that the spire that collapsed was itself a replacement built in 1860.

          Their budget was $6.8 million. I can’t remotely guess what the new costs will be.

          1. The artifacts were saved, but the rose windows are probably gone. Apparently the entire edifice was recorded with 3-D lasers, so they have all the info needed to recreate it, but I wonder if they’d redo the glass thicker at the bottom than the top to reflect the antiquity of the original?

          2. They might, since stained glass is small batch where dipping makes more sense than trying to make an entire run of float glass, especially if the color is going to take some trial and error to exactly match.

            They might be able to salvage some of the windows if the individual glass pieces didn’t all shatter when they fell. It should just be a bit of jigsaw puzzle matching against the existing database of images they’ve already compiled.

      2. “Obviously they could anticipate that this cathedral, like all of them, was a fire waiting to happen during any major renovation.”

        That this doesn’t happen more with other cathedrals suggests that other countries take more care.

        1. A few years ago, there was a fire in the roof of Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, when they were in the midst of a renovation. Fortunately the fire was caught earlier, and the damage less extensive (and Holy Name Cathedral may well have structural steel trusses rather than wood), but they still needed more renovation to repair the damage.

  1. I note that ISIS tried – twice – to set fire to Notre Dame back in 2016. The first attempt went the furthest; a car loaded with propane cylinders and kerosene was parked next the cathedral in an alley, and the “radicalized” women responsible tried to set it on fire. Passersby sounded an alarm, and catastrophe was averted. The second attempt was nipped in the bud prior to any implementation.

    It’s interesting that the police are treating this as an “accident”, even thought “the Paris prosecutor’s office said it had started an inquiry into the fire” – meaning that they have no idea what caused it. If this turns out to have been ISIS (or other Islamic group) inspired, I think the uprising that will occur will make the yellow jacket protests look like PR rallies for Macron.

  2. I was busy for most of the day. I missed much of this as it unfolded. My initial thought now seems a bit more confirmed, it can be restored. I’m happy to hear that many of the artifacts within were spared.

    We were there in October. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to see it.

    As for the cause; the news has gotten so bad these days; I’ve taken to waiting 72 hours before believing anything. I will say the initial photos seem consistent with a fire from the renovation.

  3. Trump tweeted that the French should have used aerial platforms to fight the fire if nothing else was available.

    This of course caused the left to lose their collective minds, and I’ve been entertained every since.

    Apparently aerial tankers drop water like a bomb that destroys everything underneath, and would’ve just knocked the whole cathedral over. Who knew?! One tweet and he has them spouting more stupidity than Rosie O’Donnell insisting that fire can’t melt steel.

    1. Does France even have aerial tankers to fight fires? Bear in mind that this is the same country where 15,000 elderly people died during a heat wave because their nursing homes are not air conditioned.

      1. About half an hour ago Fox News reported that the French had considered helicopters and aerial tankers, but by the time they could’ve brought the helicopters into play they didn’t think they had enough payload capacity to do any good, and they thought the accuracy of aerial tankers would be problematic, which is true.

        In my debates elsewhere I mentioned that LA County swears by their new Sikorsky S-70i Firehawks, which are a UH-60 Blackhawk derivative, and San Diego city and Ventura have ordered some too. One start up is working on an interesting multi rotor design for fire fighting in urban areas. In their product pitch they show it putting out fires in high rises or, oddly enough, a building that looked like a very large church.

        In the recent fires in Greece they used derivatives of Sikorsky Sky Cranes that carry 16,000 lbs of water, and the helicopter pilots were punching holes in the roofs of burning houses to pump water inside while people were still in them. The pilot said they were knocking down porches and spraying through front windows, and sometimes just knocking down houses that were just serving as ignition sources for nearby homes.

    2. “Apparently aerial tankers drop water like a bomb that destroys everything underneath, and would’ve just knocked the whole cathedral over. Who knew?! ”

      Tankers do a fly by of course so they impart a substantial horizontal velocity to the water (or whatever they choose to drop) and I can see that knocking over walls which need buttresses to stay up to begin with.

      Choppers an drop the stuff vertically with little or no horizontal velocity. But then you have to hover over the fire.

      Taken as a whole, I wonder what kind of fire hazard the rest of that part of Paris is (the parts on either side of the Ile). Mostly stone buildings but I wonder how fast fire would spread.

    3. I don’t understand the need for tankers at all. The building sits on a small island. There is plenty of water 50m away from the central structure. What they need are pumper engines.

      I think the twit by Trump was stupid, and certainly not his only one. Still, he can make any comment to spin up the more stupid left.

  4. I’m willing to assume that the fire was an accident, because repair work was being done to the roof and the fire appears to have started in the roof. So far I haven’t seen any discussion of 1) exactly what kind of work was being done, and 2) what equipment was being used. I hope that the workers are being extensively interviewed, but I guess that anyone who made a mistake is probably afraid to admit it for fear of prosecution.

    On the other hand, it seems that a number of churches in France have been vandalized lately, and I think we can safely guess who is responsible. If it turns out to be Muslim-caused arson, there needs to be an uprising not only in France but in Europe generally. What else would it take, the Louvre being torched?

    Another possibility is if it really was a work accident, but the people have become so distrustful of the leadership that they blame the Muslims anyway. Then things could start to get interesting. I would expect the yellow vest protests to ramp up a notch, or several notches. From watching the live videos today, it looked like there was a long delay before there was a meaningful response by the firefighters. If the people consider that to be incompetence on the part of the authorities, they won’t soon forget it. Governments have fallen for less.

      1. Yes, but people should still wait before jumping to conclusions. Even when something is a bit more clear cut, like what happened in San Bernardino, the details are never known at first. Everyone who has lived through the last 18 years on the internet should know better by now.

        Speculation is natural though, so it requires tempering human nature.

  5. In the pool, I’m putting $2 on a Bosch lithium-ion battery in the charging cradle next to a can of Minwax spar varnish.

    The workers put their tools down between 5:00 and 5:30, and the fire alarm first went off at 6:20.

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