Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

Notre-Dame+Cathedral.+Before+the+fire%2C+right%2C+and+after+the+fire%2C+left.
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Notre Dame Cathedral Fire

Notre-Dame Cathedral. Before the fire, right, and after the fire, left.

Notre-Dame Cathedral. Before the fire, right, and after the fire, left.

Photo Credit to Renee Chaples and ABC News

Notre-Dame Cathedral. Before the fire, right, and after the fire, left.

Photo Credit to Renee Chaples and ABC News

Photo Credit to Renee Chaples and ABC News

Notre-Dame Cathedral. Before the fire, right, and after the fire, left.

Renee Chaples, Producer of the Void

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On Monday, April 15, France was struck with a tragedy in which the historically beloved Notre Dame Cathedral caught flame. Although the specific cause has yet to be pinpointed, theories propose that since the building was covered in scaffolding for renovation, it might have caused the dry woods in the attic to combust. Other theories include electrical problems and human error.

Benjamin Mouton, the architect who was responsible for the fire-safety system put in place, acknowledged a misjudgment in how long it would take for a flame to spread in the cathedral. In an interview with New York Times, Mouton claimed, “The system was based on the assumption that the ancient oak timbers in its attic would burn slowly.” In addition to the miscalculated fire-spread, the fire alarms also did not go off right away. The fire was initially discovered by a guard who could only alert the fire department when a blaze was clearly visible; subsequently this caused a delay of 20 minutes, which only allowed the fire to get worse.

According to New York Times, “For nearly five hours, about 500 firefighters battled the blaze.” It was not until 11 a.m. that they officially announced that the fire had been terminated. The fire had taken two-thirds of the roof and the whole spire, yet the iconic towers of the cathedral had survived. In response, some of France’s wealthiest families and others from around the globe pledged a total of 845 million euros (roughly $950 million) for restoration of the building. French president Emmanuel Macron has vowed to have the cathedral fully restored within the next five years.

Although the fire was seemingly a few seconds from a great devastation, the amount of money raised in such a short amount of time caused backlash in both France and the United States, who volunteered aid. The well-known “Yellow Vest” protest group of France only grew to have more resentment about the economic inequality in France. The U.S. has its citizens in uproar about how the amount of money raised in such a short amount of time could have been put towards the 5-year Flint Water Crisis, or the cleaning of the oceans.

The fire has served as a wake-up call to other historically rich countries such as Italy, Germany, and Spain who have realized that old buildings such as the Notre Dame need constant care and attention. Without proper building code updates, restoration projects, and damage control, the iconic buildings of the past might not be as lucky as the Notre Dame.