Official: Notre Dame faced ‘chain-reaction collapse’ in fire

Staff Writer

PARIS (AP) — Notre Dame Cathedral would have burned to the ground in a “chain-reaction collapse” had firefighters not moved as rapidly as they did to battle the blaze racing through the beloved landmark building, a French government official said Wednesday.
The firefighters acted aggressively to protect wooden supports in the twin medieval bell towers from the flames, averting a bigger catastrophe, said José Vaz de Matos, a fire expert with France’s Culture Ministry.
“If the fire reached this wooden structure, the bell tower would have been lost,” de Matos said at a news conference. “From the moment we lose the war of the bell towers, we lose the cathedral, because it’s a chain-reaction collapse.”
Monday’s fire destroyed most of the lead roof of the 850-year-old architectural treasure and caused its spire, which was added in the 19th century, to collapse.
An initial fire alert was sounded at 6:20 p.m., as a Mass was underway in the cathedral, but no fire was found. A second alarm was sounded...To read more, please refer to our print or online edition.

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