20 Apr Notre Dame Fire Update
It has been almost a week since the devastating fire that raged through the beloved Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. According to French investigators, the fire was due to an electrical short circuit and was an accident. Now what everyone is wondering is, “what was lost in the fire and what were they able to save?”. Let’s take a look below.
What was lost or damaged in the fire
Most notably and noticeable from first photos and videos was the cathedral’s 315-foot-tall oak spire. It toppled quickly as the fire spread. At the base of the spire were copper statues of the 12 apostles and four evangelists and at the summit were a metal rooster sheltering three relics. While the rooster and the relics were lost in the fire, the 16 copper statues were removed from the roof for cleaning in the week before the fire, so they were not damaged.
From photos you can see that the wooden interior of the cathedral suffered heavy damage. In addition, two-thirds of the roof were destroyed. Inside, the altar and interior stonework remained intact. However, large sections of the vaulted ceilings collapsed.
What was saved in the fire
Thankfully, many people with a deep understanding of the contents of the cathedral were on site when the fire broke out. Notre Dame was in the process of a planned restoration at the time of the fire, and those working on the restoration were able to identify what needed to be saved immediately.
Besides the copper statues that were removed prior to the fire starting, many other important items were spared. Thanks to Paris’s deputy mayor for tourism and sports, along with many others, much of the church’s art and artifacts were saved. People created a human chain to get the relics out of the blaze immediately.
The Crown of Thorns was luckily part of the group of items that were saved. This is said to have been worn by Jesus Chris during his crucifixion. In addition, the Tunic of Saint Louis was saved. All of the rescued art and artifacts were transferred to the Louvre Museum to be restored and kept safe.
The Paris Fire Brigade was also able to save the cathedral’s stone structure. This includes the facade, the two 226-foot twin bell towers, and the largest bell of Notre Dame located in the South tower.
Notre Dame’s famous trio of round stained-glass windows which date back to the 13th century were also saved.
The Great Organ, one of the biggest in the world, suffered damages but remained intact.
Lastly, the thirteen monumental paintings in the nave survived the blaze.
Most importantly, no one was killed in the fire. However, one firefighter and two police officers were injured while trying to put out the blaze.
Plans moving forward
The main priority after the fire is to assess the level of safety of the structure which remains. The vault and the north transept pinion were left vulnerable after the blaze and will need further securing. After these top priorities are assessed, experts will begin to assess the rest of the structure. They will need to figure out a way to remove the charred wooden structure above the vault so the underlying stone can be inspected.
The building will also need to dry out from the rescue efforts which included a large volume of water to put out the fire. According to The Guardian, authorities are working on a plan to construct temporary roofs over the cathedral.
So how long will this take? French President Emmanuel Macron made a vow on Tuesday to rebuild the Notre Dame within five years. The Foundation for French Heritage has launched an international fundraising campaigne to rebuild Notre Dame. In total, the cathedral received over $1 billion in pledges so far. This includes pledges from two French billionaires, who pledged 300 million euros combined.
To donate to the international fundraising campaign to rebuild Notre Dame, visit the Foundation for French Heritage.