The Catch-up: What happens next for Notre Dame - and can it be saved?

What happened?

Pictures showing Notre Dame cathedral have revealed the scale of damage caused by the devastating blaze. The fire has left a nation mourning the destruction of its 850-year-old cultural and historic “epicentre” and sent shockwaves around the world. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, said a national subscription would help pay to rebuild the most-visited monument in his country. The fire broke out shortly before 7pm European time on Monday, and was brought under control at around 3am. It took another six hours to be fully extinguished.

What happens next?

An investigation is underway into the cause of the fire. French police have confirmed they do not believe it was started deliberately after questioning construction workers. Work on the building will begin as soon as possible, helped by more than £518 million in donations from the public, along with pledges from France’s billionaires. French officials have warned workers will need to wait 48 hours before entering the building due to the risk the damaged structure could collapse. A hundred firefighters remained in place throughout today, ready to put out any remaining spots.

Can it be saved?

Yes, but it won’t be the same. One of the problems in restoring the building to the exact specifications is the lack of materials. Bertrand de Feydeau, vice president of preservation group Fondation du Patrimoine, said the wooden roof that went up in flames was built with beams more than 800 years ago from primal forests. He said the cathedral’s roof cannot be rebuilt exactly as it was before the fire because “we don’t, at the moment, have trees on our territory of the size that were cut in the 13th century”. He said the restoration work will have to use new technologies to recreate its former glory.

Experts are now examining the remains of the building to see which parts of the structure are safe. Any designs or blueprints would depend entirely on the evaluation. It is too early to say how long restoration will take or how much it will cost.

Read more:
Can Notre Dame ever be fully restored? (Yahoo News UK)
‘On our watch we let it burn’: Fre leaves hole in heart of Paris (The Guardian)
‘Huge’ risk of fire like Notre Dame at Westminster (PA Ready News)
‘The bells of Notre Dame will ring again’ (Sky News)

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