The restoration works that were under place are a result in part of our recommended actions.
The spire was incredible. It was one oak trunk, connected with a "Scarf Joint", or "Jupitre" in French (Bolt-of-lightning joint)
There were the names of the last guys to inspect it in the 1930s, engraved at the top.
There was a french ww2 bullet embedded in the spire, presumably shot at a germany sniper who was in the spire...
Everything in the roof was antique wood. Anyone that went into the roof was paranoid of fire.
It's a very, very sad day.
As a celebration, I'm throwing up some photos that we'd never published from our study.
Can you perhaps comment on what restoration work may have caused this?
Over the weeks we'd spent on the spire, we photographed and documented literally every square centimeter of the spire and roof space.
Outside of its intrinsic value, the spire also held religious relics (Thorn from the Crown of Thorns etc..). They were apparently contained in the wind-vane on the top of the crow's nest.
We were unable to access the crow's nest - the last 3 ladder rungs (the spire had iron foot pegs every 50cm or so up one side) had been removed - ( presumably to stop people from getting to the relics ) - and there was no way we could get access without installing scaffolding.
There was so much hidden detail on the roof - works that would never be seen from the ground - invisible to everyone but the workers and artisans. Truly a loss.
As for the cause, there would be some solace in an 'unavoidable' situation - I just hope it wasn't someone discarding a cigarette butt.
Are all those photos available somewhere?
The smell of the roof space was incredible - deep, wooden and wise.
To prevent fire, there was no electricity wires in attic, because the oak beams were extremely dry.
Where is that coming from?
I don't see any definitions that constrains antique to a specific time window, some definitions/laws include "at least 100 years old"
Antique: a work of art, piece of furniture, or decorative object made at an earlier period and according to various customs laws at least 100 years ago
> The 3-meter-tall statues are being sent to southwestern France for work that is part of a 6 million-euro ($6.8 million) renovation project on the cathedral spire and its 250 tons of lead.
It'll be decades, but if I'm very lucky enough to live very long, I may hear those peals myself.
On one of the sides I did - there were the traces of what we could only assume to be some type of explosion (probably a stray explosive from WW2 ..?).
There are also the eagles that were halfway up the spire.
Curiously enough, there were six, each one had a number stamped on its head - if you traced the numbers, it made a star composed of 2 equilateral triangles.
It seems the North Tower has since caught fire as well - so the bells will have gone, and all of the stored relics too - so some photos of those.
This allows free movement when the bells are ringing, without stressing the stones.
It was a priority to extinguish the north tower fire to prevent the bell structure from collapsing - the falling bells would have destroyed the stone structures on the way down, presumably triggering the collapse of both towers..
It’s debatable, however, how much that means. I suspect it serves more of a symbolic purpose, as a kernel of truth to a shared future fiction that the building is at least partially “original”.
In terms of costs, I suspect integrating those structures is likely to be more expensive than rebuilding from scratch. The loss is also greater than just the building, as it contained a multitude of art, some of it part of the structure like the famous stained glass windows, some not.
What takes time is often the financing: there are churches in Germany where, to this day they are collecting money and constructing piece-by-piece. I don’t know how this will play out here. For example: how much is the Catholic Church still involved? But I would assume the French state to be somewhat generous.
The other potentially delaying question is how to reconstruct. Going for an exact replica often feels anachronistic and sometimes tacky. The German Reichstag, for example, was reconstructed with a rather modern glass rotunda, and feels like a great example of combining old and new. The World Trade Centre was replaced by something entirely new. If they decide to go in such a direction, some time will be spent on architects’ competitions.
The reconstruction will be a restoration, to what degree, it remains to be seen, for example Reims Cathedral roof was rebuilt using concrete for the structure, but the general appearance will remain the same.
The symbolic is rather different that of the Reichtag, the Reichtag being the symbol of a new state in the XIXe century, destroyed during its darkest hour, and finally reconstructed after the rebirth of Germany and the Reunification with a mix of old and new, By itself the Reichtag summarizes German history.
Nowadays churches in France belong to the city, not the Church. Which has led to many tragedies recently, with town halls (usually Communist) intentionally neglecting churches until there was no choice but to destroy them. I don't have any faith in the French state these days to be consistent with monuments.
Looking at some aerial pictures (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/D4OFOKMWkAEEHsz.jpg), it looks like the vault is holding except maybe for the section above the transept area (where the spire collapsed), but it has probably suffered, if not from the collapse of the roof, the heat has probably weakened it.
But yes, one or two decades of restoration is a realistic estimation, it's roughly what it took for other cathedrals to be restored (Rouen, Reims) after the World Wars (hopefully Notre-Dame will be in a better state after the disaster)
Hopefully things will move faster with Notre-Dame de Paris, but it'll take at least decades.
But in this kind of restoration, the devil is in the details, repairing the structure and rebuilding the roof and the spire will probably take around 8 to 10 years, if the vault is not in too bad of a shape, more otherwise. But repairing the the sculptures and decoration, with all their minutes details will take generations.
For these, what was not destroyed by the fire is probably heavily damaged by the tons of waters poured to save the edifice.
Respectfully, you have no idea what you are talking about. Nobody in Europe would consider tearing down the remaining structures and rebuilding from scratch because it's cheaper.
Above the vaults of stone, a wooden frame supports the roof which is covered with metal (zinc). This is obviously lighter, and easier to build and to maintain than a roof made of stone. Unfortunately, after a few centuries it becomes extremely burnable.
I've been to many Catholic locales, and there are many poor Catholic artisans who would be willing to create beautiful Catholic art if they had resources. I'd rather they get the resources, than some secular artisan simply trying to copy Catholic art.
I would rather see resources go to actual Catholics to be used in an actual Catholic place of worship that is frequented and populated than to non-Catholic artisans attempting to mimick Catholic beauty to restore a building that is not actually used.
The fact is that the well-loved parish stands a chance of becoming a Notre Dame of the future, whereas, Notre Dame itself is likely to fade away and become a museum, unless the people of France actually decide to become Catholic again.
The truth is that, it was the underlying belief in the Catholic world view that made Notre Dame the legend it is today (the constant creation of beauty, the grandeur, the preservation through the ages). No amount of money to secular authorities can possibly recreate that exact mythos, whereas it could if sent to another diocese that still practiced.
EDIT: perhaps I'm wrong and Notre dame is more active than I thought and I just visited at a bad time, but from what I've read, there's not many actual Catholics in France, at least when compared to California.
It’s also a miserable stance to take while the place is still literally on fire.
As a rule of thumb, the water flow necessary to extinguish a burning structure is the volume of the structure (in feet) divided by 100. The resulting number is (in rough numbers) the amount of water you need, in gallons per minute. For a fire this size, you're looking at tens of thousands of gallons of water per minute. It's just not possible.
"Must act quickly!" Ya think? Hopefully the fire department in Paris, France is listening for gems like that from out here in the boonies / the ghetto hemisphere. How many medieval churches are there on our whole continent? Call us if you want a church bombed.
(edited slightly in response to child comments)
EDIT: I added a few words to the grandparent post to try to make my intent clearer.
Actually I think I was, if anything, charitably conferring tons of undue respect on that guy, by calling him "our president," thereby not only acknowledging his office but accepting him as "ours," both of which are more than some are willing to do. Ya can't please some people I guess.
However, I'd like to use this opportunity to plug Valee's "Womp Womp". Check it out on Spotify!
Makes sense. French fire departments are branches of the military.
Edit: just the Parisian and one other fire service are set up this way.
(The news networks are pretty much as clueless to the situation as everyone else, so take with a grain of salt)
Edit: They are now spraying the stone structures.
They're not going to take huge risks. Any environment that would be extremely dangerous would be an area where any art has already been destroyed.
How many human lives and human energy went into Notre Dame? How many lives would its continued existence inspire? Humans are far more temporary than art and culture. Art and culture connects us to the people that came before us.
It's a pretty personal question. I admire the archaeologist you described, but I believe no one should feel obligated to do the same thing.
How much risk would you be willing to take to save the artworks of Notre Dame?
If there's even a small but significant risk to one's life then nobody should feel obligated to do it.
I think that's the best explanation I've ever heard for why art and culture are so important.
PS: I had no idea it was so controversial to forgive people for not risking their lives for an inanimate object.
Some people will categorically shy away from any perceived risk to their own safety, even if the estimated chance of saving a valuable object is very high. At the other extreme, some people would endure suffering and death to save what they recognize as priceless artifacts of history and culture.
If your argument is that we shouldn't criticize people for choosing not risk their for inanimate objects, can you point to such criticism in this thread? I haven't seen any.
Put it this way... would you run into a burning building to try to save the Declaration of Independence? (Assuming you're an American) Would most firefighters? Seems reasonable to me. The art inside the Notre Dame is on that level of importance, to France and to civilization itself.
What matters about the DoI are the ideas, not the original piece of paper.
no piece of paper/art and especially national pride is worth someone's health
I live in fourth most visited city in Europe and I couldn't care less if most touristy church burned down, it's just church, people are overly dramatic, most important it's nobody died and whatever will be outcome life will go on tomorrow and in two weeks nobody will remember about it in news
Just because you don't feel that way doesn't mean they're all wrong.
any sane parent would think twice risking his life over a THING. risking life to save other (strangers) lives it's questionable, risking life to save things it's just stupid
There's nothing unusual for being willing to die for a THING. Hell, people have sacrificed themselves in the millions for mere ideas. People fight to the death over tiny scraps of symbolic land.
It may seem stupid to you. It's stupid to me, too. But that's what people do. That's what people are.
as for saving someone's else child I would most likely not do it if I would calculate it's too risky for me (unless I would be stupid by instinct), if their own parent/guardian font care about their lives why should I? I don't expect other people saving my children. though it's not fair comparison,I am sure you have minute to decide if you save some piece of art work compared to split second decision to save living being
I also worked in past in insurance companies, after dealing with thousands of accidents my advice it's always run over animal, don't try to save it by avoiding it (unless it's boar or something similar comparable to concrete block/tree), try to fight your instinct, saw way too many dead people or in serious injury because they tried to save some stupid dog/fox etc and then crashed into some tree/building etc
If entering a burning building (which isn't actually _that_ risky) to salvage one-of-a-kind historic artifacts isn't something you would chose to do, that's fine. Don't label the actions of those that make a different choice "stupid".
Notre Dame is...was...a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral in a postmodern secular country, desecrated rather than revered by the revolutionaries who built modern France.
The country and government being secular does not mean that the people left their Catholic roots behind. Atheist and religious French people share similar values and the past is very important to both.
To flip your point around, they'd save it because it's symbolically important. Same with the art in the Notre Dame.
I’ve literally been explaining that this whole time. Please try to read and comprehend things before issuing these vacuous replies.
Edit: Someone on Reddit wrote a very interesting comment about its historical significance:
"Napoleon's coronation is incredibly recent in terms of Notre Dame's age. The amount of time between then and now represents less than 25% of the cathedral's existence.
It was built in 1163, one year after Genghis Khan's birth (or at least our best guess of his birth). Notre Dame predated Marco Polo and the founding of the Ottoman Empire by more than a century. It predates the creation of Islam. At the time of its construction, the best estimates for the global population are ~300 million (less than the current population of the United States). The cathedral was almost 200 years old when the Black Death destroyed a third of the world's population. The USA is currently younger than Notre Dame was when the Forbidden City was constructed in Beijing. It was 3 centuries old when Machu Picchu was built and Leonardo Da Vinci was born. It was over 400 years old when Shakespeare's Globe Theatre was built. It predated the original King James Version of the Bible by 450 years."
Among other relics, a piece of the Crown of Thorns was inside the Cathedral. I don't have a hard time picturing someone braving a blaze to save that.
And we are talking a building that has survived the French history, the Revolutionaries didn't destroy it, the Communards didn't destroy it (and the destruction in this event were quite extensive http://paris1900.lartnouveau.com/paris00/commune_destruction...). It's a testament of the culture importance of the building and the fact it far exceeds its religious function.
Disclaimer: French and living in Paris (I've not seen the fire however).
I imagine even the most reticent would be jumping in on this one.
Patriotism is like caring for your family.
"The desire to compete with other nations; nationalism."
Patriotism is a better fit for this use, as there's the first definition:
"Love of one's country; devotion to the welfare of one's compatriots; passion which inspires one to serve one's country."
Generally, if we're not using literal dictionary definitions, in a political context, nationalism is overpowering patriotism where you want your country to be better than others at all costs. Patriotism is a love for you country and your people.
Sydney J. Harris
 - https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Sydney_J._Harris
Either way: how did France (the nation) make any of these artworks? You could argue it was made by anyone in the spectrum ranging from "the artist" to "the humanity". Stopping at France seems arbitrary and a bit... nationalistic.
If any institution "made" them, it's the Catholic Church, not France.
 - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/...
Americans are some of most obnoxiously nationalistic people I've ever encountered. Note: I've lived both in Paris, and also NY and California (14 years in the US). Only in the US do you hear mobs of nationalistic folk chanting "USA USA." I've never been in France or the UK and seen similar things. Think about things like Americans boycotting French Fries and calling them "Freedom Fries" when France decided not to join the illegal and immoral Iraq War.
Very fine people on all sides of course.
I must admit, you’re the first person I’ve ever heard refer to a USA chant as enchanting.
I go back and forth between HN and Reddit, I guess I'm used to Reddit, will pay more attention.
This type of art is irreplaceable and art cannot walk away from the fire. At least we know it has zero chance of doing so, unless someone shows up
If they get 8 months of training before employment, I kinda hope they spend more time on the theory and practice of firefighting than being a soldier.
That's only like six fire engines, looking up the stats. (But I don't know anything about fire fighting.)
Even if you had that pumping capacity on site, there's no way the municipal water supply could deliver that much water.
You're absolutely right though, if you want big water, that's the way to get it. It's just that "big water" doesn't even begin to approach the scale of the water that would be necessary to directly fight this fire.
SFFD trucks have that capability, and it was used in the 1989 earthquake. It's intended for pulling water from the underground cisterns marked by a big ring of bricks in SF intersections.
Terrible for the equipment to run salt water, but they had to.
For anyone else confused: this earthquake was in San Francisco and this is about their Fire Department. It doesn't mean that French fire trucks have that capability 30 years later.
My understanding, which is probably quite out of date, is that it's mostly harbor firefighting boats which had this ability.
A coworker of mine points out that many of the San Francisco manholes are actually covers for cisterns of water, which exist primarily for fighting fires after an earthquake possibly takes out the water mains and starts many fires. I should hope that San Francisco fire trucks can draft water to use these.
Park the truck next to the cistern. Connect a length of hose to the pump supply, drop the hose into the cistern. The pump will move water until it loses suction pressure.
London Fire Brigade for example has nine special pumps that can draw 2000 gallons a minute each from river or lake supplies. So that's 18,000 gallons a minute just from them.
And that's a smaller fire brigade than Paris.
The real world is complex. It's not all like software or taking multiple choice exams. Again the devil is in the details. Pay really close attention to the map legend. It looks like there's nearly 200 feet of distance from the closest water shown on that map and the nearest side of the cathedral. I really doubt that all fire trucks carry 200 feet of hard suction hose, or have pumps designed to draft through 200 feet of hard hose.
"The NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus – Requires pumpers to carry:
15 feet of large soft sleeve hose or 20 feet of hard suction hose"
In real life, if you were going to draft in an environment like this, (leaving aside any reference to fire boats for a moment), you'd drive an engine to within 20' or so of the water, have it draft, and then relay water to the fire scene using (usually) 5" LDH. But sometimes even getting an engine to within 20' of the water can be a challenge, based on the geography and circumstances.
If the body of water you're drafting from is (strongly) subject to tides, that adds another complicating factor as your water source is now moving around, which could require constant re-positioning of the apparatus.
Lay people always see fires near large bodies of water and think "Why is water supply a problem, they're surrounded by water?!?" But it's often more complicated than that.
Source: was a firefighter and firefighting instructor for about a decade in a former life.
There were notable logistical issues to get enough firefighters on-site given it’s an island, and there were a ton of people around when the fire broke out. They wound up having 400 firefighters on-site until midnight to get it under control and save the structure. I’m pretty confident they did all they could, and HN’s armchair firefighters aren’t likely to have done any better.
First, it's the temperature. A fire is extinguished in the first minutes; after a few hours, you can do nothing but contain it. It's the problem with roof fires: they burn for a long time without being seen, and are therefore powerful when visible.
The aerial tankers are at Nimes. Helicoptors are a little closer, but more in the south. If you use one or the other, it would take several hours.. After the detection of the fire, by which time it has grown in power.
Specific complication today: the discovery was at the end of the afternoon. The planes can't operate in night (experimentation is ongouging), especially in an environment as complex as Paris. Even if we send them, they couldn't intervene until tomorrow.
Second point: access. A roof, it's waterproof. An aerial tanker would douse the tiles or copper cover, but not a drop would arrive on the file except at the stage where the roof has already began to fall. Then, the plane could douse the flames. But it's much, much too late: by the time the first tiles fell, the carpentry would already be gravely weak. In fact, these fires only become visible when the damage is already profound.
Sending the aerial tankers over a building, that's already done. But for exterior fires. Under a roof, that isn't useful until the roof has already fallen. That's why these planes don't service this kind of fire. In fact, at the moment where one can still save the roof, these fires are only accessible by the interior.
That's the difficulty with the work of firefighting. If they could, they would love to intervene without plunging into the flames... But while it burns under a roof, it's necessary to go find the fire.
Correction after several reactions: when I speak of aircraft without precision, I think especially of helicopters. Canadair is clearly excluded by effect of its backwash, which can provoke a collapse of the carpentry, already severely weakened.
People also should know that simultaneous fires on multiple floors of multi-story buildings typically aren't possible to fight either, reducing possible efforts to containment and damage mitigation.
1. Cool an outer structure rapidly with lightweight/gently-applied, inert, high specific heat material from above.
2. Thixotropic gently-applied, inert, high specific heat material inner structure (possibly same as 1.).
> As a rule of thumb, the water flow necessary to extinguish a burning structure is the volume of the structure (in feet) divided by 100. The resulting number is (in rough numbers) the amount of water you need, in gallons per minute. For a fire this size, you're looking at tens of thousands of gallons of water per minute. It's just not possible.
I wonder if the fire could be covered with a huge tarpaulin or alike to try to suppress it.
If you have a large amount of material be moderately hot, you'd need a lot of water to cool it. The thermal load is high.
There are four major phases in the life of a fire, incipient, growth, fully developed, and decay. Sprinklers are designed to keep a fire from progressing from incipient to growth. Once it makes that transition, the battle is lost.
I wonder if injecting large amounts of CO2 or N2 inside the structure would be feasible.
Water-soluble foam, which is much lighter weight and easier to produce in large volumes, is also known to be used to contain large fires, especially of oil / fuel.
Getting 10 engines there wouldn't be the issue. Supplying them with water would be. Given that it's an island, they would be limited to the capacity of the water main serving the island.
“Look, having nuclear — my uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart, the Wharton School of Finance, very good, very smart — you know, if you’re a conservative Republican, if I were a liberal, if, like, OK, if I ran as a liberal Democrat, they would say I’m one of the smartest people anywhere in the world — it’s true! — but when you’re a conservative Republican they try — oh, do they do a number — that’s why I always start off: Went to Wharton, was a good student, went there, went there, did this, built a fortune — you know I have to give my like credentials all the time, because we’re a little disadvantaged — but you look at the nuclear deal, the thing that really bothers me — it would have been so easy, and it’s not as important as these lives are — nuclear is powerful; my uncle explained that to me many, many years ago, the power and that was 35 years ago; he would explain the power of what’s going to happen and he was right, who would have thought? — but when you look at what’s going on with the four prisoners — now it used to be three, now it’s four — but when it was three and even now, I would have said it’s all in the messenger; fellas, and it is fellas because, you know, they don’t, they haven’t figured that the women are smarter right now than the men, so, you know, it’s gonna take them about another 150 years — but the Persians are great negotiators, the Iranians are great negotiators, so, and they, they just killed, they just killed us.”
-Donald J Trump
Using aerial tankers would be unsafe (flying planes are very low altitudes through a city), and would result in a net reduction in firefighting efforts on scene.
Dumping actual water would be a bad idea both for the people and the structure, simply because dumping heavy things from high places is generally dangerous.
These planes have to fly extremely close to the ground to deliver their payload (which is spread over an area far too large to be effective in this case anyway btw) and too often the plane can lose control, whether from sudden unweighting or the turbulence from the fire and crash. This can kill everyone on board and usually starts a new fire to boot.
Dropping tons of water on Notre Dame's roof would likely just expedite the collapse.
We also have a form of firefighter called a Smoke Jumper that's the equivalent of a Paratrooper for fighting fires. They're deployed in these remote areas to clear out areas ahead of fires to constrict or redirect fires.
Widely used in Canadian firefighting, mainly forest fires. These fires are huge, covering 1,351,314 hectares in BC alone in 2018.
""Truly weird Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky reminds me of a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain. He was terrible at DEBATE!"" & another:
"".@FrankLuntz is a low class slob who came to my office looking for consulting work and I had zero interest. Now he picks anti-Trump panels!"" - who do you think vetted these? Which professionals?
The obvious and sad truth is; Trump watches TV, and randomly reacts real time on twitter with his own words. You can figure out what he is working (and NOT working on) by simply looking at what TV shows, channels, and people-on-TV he refers to as he continues to tweet throughout the day.
Yes, I know the Notre Dame will be built again. But that might not happen till after I am long gone.
I would think that this type of event would bring the French together in a way like few other events could. I'd expect Gilets Jaunes movement to subside quickly.
Yes, today we are all French - and expect that we all want to see Our Lady rebuilt. Faster, better, stronger, and much more fire-retardant than in the past.
The Windsor Castle fire of 1992 was refurbished in 5 years,  and although a national treasure, it was not at the level of the Notre Dame. But it was rebuilt, and was even completed ahead of schedule.
The cost doesn't matter - it will probably be well over a billion. But you will see concerts, TV specials, and all sorts of fund raisers to rebuild her.
And in this you will see the best thing of all - the French (and even people like me who are only French on occasions like this) showing our love to rebuild her.
This is the message you should hold in your heart today - one of love and empathy, and dare I say, the grace of God that she was intended to foster.
 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Windsor_Castle_fire
 - https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-france-notredame-arnault/b...
The cathedral is made of stone. It will survive the fire and won't need to be rebuilt. "Just" a new roof will be needed and remediation for the fire. Just in quotes because clearly that's still a massive undertaking which will take years and a whole lot of dollars.
The spire is clearly a great loss. As are the statues that were on the roof. Hopefully the stained glass makes it out ok, but that's probably optimistic. There's also the artifacts and art work in the interior that will be damaged. But the iconic bell towers remain. The statues on the facade are likely undamaged. The interior nave and apse will survive. After restoration it will still be essentially the same even if we lose some irreplaceable artifacts.
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, Restored by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Jean Baptiste Lassus -- http://www.victorianweb.org/art/architecture/vld/3.html
"The Commission on Historical Monuments approved most of Viollet-le-Duc's plans, but rejected his proposal to remove the choir built under Louis XIV. Viollet-le-Duc himself turned down a proposal to add two new spires atop the towers, arguing that such a monument "would be remarkable but would not be Notre Dame de Paris". Instead, he proposed to rebuild the original medieval spire and bell tower over the transept, which had been removed in 1786 because it was unstable in the wind."
Protected from fungus (rot) and insects, wood can last indefinitely. How to achieve that, of course, varies widely.
Many Americans live in wooden houses that are much older than that. The biggest problem tends to be termites.
I'm truly heartbroken