DETROIT - Those on the plane from Paris Charles De Gaulle to Detroit Metro tonight had no idea Notre Dame was burning.
“I did not believe you because for us it is a big part of our history,” Benjamin Riou said. “My country will do whatever it takes to put it back up otherwise it will not be Paris.”
French President Emmanuel Macron echoed those very words just before midnight in Paris. So far, French officials believe this fire was a result of the work being done in the roof.
“Definitely, it looks like a construction fire,”says Detroit Fire Deputy Commissioner Dave Fornell. “Even if the whole church was sprinklered it probably wouldn’t have helped,” he said.
That’s because the fire burned from the top down. Roofs aren’t sprinklered. Fornell sees two other major problems French firefighters had to contend with.
Notre Dame sits on the Ile de la Cité, an island in the Seine, so accessibility is an issue . The other is water volume.
“The volume is quite a bit less than what we have here,” he added. We’ll have to wait until morning to see the result of the blaze. Initial pictures from inside show the altar, cross and the Pieta intact.
French officials say the holy relics like the crown of thorns had been saved. The fate of the famous rose windows and the gargoyles that have guarded the cathedral for 800 years are unknown.
Paris firefighters say that blaze at Notre Dame cathedral is fully extinguished.
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