Paris’ iconic Notre Dame cathedral has suffered severe damage following a fire that broke out near the spire, which was being renovated at the time.
Notre Dame receives more than 13-million tourists each year; no one was hurt in the incident.
Notre Dame was undergoing a €6,000,000 renovation at the time of the incident, alluding to the possibility that the tragic accident could be the result of some malpractice in the either disregarding - or the absence of - a safety system at the Cathedral. French media is quoting authorities who have since said that the fire is ‘potentially linked’ to the large renovation job to the cathedral’s spire.
The Paris prosecutor has already opened an investigation into the fire, which is currently in the hands of the French judiciary police. As a result of the judiciary police being entrusted, the probe is considered a criminal investigation.
According to the FT, “the 750-tonne spire over the altar at the centre of the cathedral and much of the roof collapsed after it was engulfed in flames.”
“Nearly 500 firefighters struggled through the night to bring the flames under control, French authorities said they thought they had saved the stone structure of the building, even though the collapse of the blazing roof is certain to have damaged priceless works of art in the main body of the cathedral.”
France’s civil security agency said that “all means” of extinguishing the blaze were utilised other than air-dropping water, which could potentially cause more of the structure to collapse.
Maggie Koerth-Baker, a science reporter with Five-Thirty-Eight has been researching previous renovations of Notre Dame’s structure, which led her to believe that “the fallout from Notre Dame burning isn’t just going to be about a cathedral,” alluding to the contractor working on the spire at the time.
Koerth-Baker quotes her husband, “(architect and engineer) pointed out that whoever the contractor on this Notre Dame renovation was, they’re legally and financially fucked now… That got me curious about the firm… which led to some old articles and, oh man, the aftermath of this is gonna be messy.”
On an “interesting side digression,” she writes, “the 19th century renovations that were done fast and sloppy basically basically because Victor Hugo made Notre Dame famous all of a sudden and it needed to look a little better for tourists.”
We’ll keep you updated as the investigation reveals details surrounding the accident.