What happened at Notre-Dame on April 15, 2019: the reconstruction of the fire at the cathedral

We all remember the tragic fire that the April 15, 2019 blazed within the Notre Dame Cathedral due – probably – to a short circuit. This was built between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries on theIle de la Cité of Paris and, up to that point, had never been affected by fires. Unfortunately the building was seriously damaged: two thirds of roof and the spire Wood (flèche) caught fire rapidly, involving approx 400 firefighters in 15 hours of work to be able to quell the flames. This year, after 5 years exacted by the disaster, the reconstruction project should be advanced enough to allow the re-opening of the cathedral to the faithfulDecember 8day of the immaculate conception.

But what caused the fire? Before going to investigate the causes of the disaster, let's briefly review what happened that evening.

What happened at Notre Dame Cathedral on April 15, 2019

As we will see shortly, the disaster was caused (in part) by the presence of a construction site on the cathedral: it was a massive ten-year project of renovation from the cost of 150 million euros started the previous year. Therefore, they were present at the time of the fire scaffolding both outside and inside the sacred place.

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Notre-Dame fire: what stage is the reconstruction work on the cathedral?

By Stefano Gandelli

On the evening of the disaster, at 6.20pm (local time) a religious service was underway inside the Cathedral and, despite the sound of the alarm, the parish priest continued. At 6.43pm however, the faithful were evacuated after the sound of a second alarm and at 7.10pm a column of smoke began to form. In the following half hour the flames began to envelop the roof and the spire of the cathedral: exactly this one will collapse at 7.50pm about.

Spire on fire. Credit: Remi Mathis

In the following hours the firefighters struggled to both try to put out the fireboth for bring to safety as many works and valuable objects as possible from the cathedral. The flames were eventually put out around the 3.40am the next morningafter the collapse of approx two thirds of the roof.

fire night notre dame
Credit: Baidax, CC BY–SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What were the causes of the Notre-Dame fire?

At first the investigations pointed the finger at the workers which, according to reconstructions, they would have smoked on the scaffolding, throwing cigarette butts. In reality, however, it seems that the fire started inside the cathedral and not from the external scaffolding, so this hypothesis was soon set aside.

To date, the main cause is believed to be linked to some scaffolding installed in attic: these would have inadvertently damaged the system who was in charge of movement of the bellscausing its short circuit and the consequent fire.

bells notre dame
Credit: Marcok / it.wiki, CC BY–SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At the same time, however, it is not right to demonize only the company responsible for carrying out the restoration: if the cathedral caught fire so tragically it is because the structure was not equipped with a suitable fire prevention system. Being a cathedral of immense historical value, in fact, the installation of a sprinkler system would not only have altered part of the original wooden structure and the works present, but it would also have been amajor expense.

At the time of the fire therefore only gods were present detectors which, by ringing, would have activated the intervention of the firefighters, without any system for actively extinguishing the flames. In addition, as reported by some employees, these systems also came recalibrated to play the as little as possible, since i false alarms they were commonplace: for this reason their ringing was not taken seriously until they were visible the flames and the smoke.

What Notre-Dame is like today: progress in reconstruction

There reconstruction it was one of the main topics of debate already in the days following the fire, given the enormous religious, artistic and tourist importance of the place. To date they are involved in the project approximately 1000 workers who work both on site and in the country's artisan workshops.
As also confirmed by the official portal, everything is proceeding at great speed: the great Organ he returned to his place, as did the stained glass windows and the railings in iron. Times And buttresses were repaired while thewooden frame of the nave and the spire are being prepared in the laboratories.

As anticipated, the reopening is scheduled forDecember 8, 2024 while the complete reconstruction of the structure should be completed the following year.

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