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World66 minutes: The frantic race to save Notre Dame

11:50  18 april  2019
11:50  18 april  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Silver lining: Late art historian's work, 'Assassin's Creed' video game could help rebuild Notre Dame French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to rebuild the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which was devastated by a massive fire Monday. 

It had been 66 minutes since the first flames were spotted. The sky above the cathedral flamed orange, and the fire lurched toward Notre Dame ’s iconic towers, then slipped inside. Myriam Chudzinski was among 20 firefighters already there. Loaded with gear, they climbed hundreds of steps up the narrow

It had been 66 minutes since the first flames were spotted. The sky above the cathedral flamed orange, and the fire lurched toward Notre Dame 's iconic towers, then slipped inside. Myriam Chudzinski was among 20 firefighters already there. Loaded with gear, they climbed hundreds of steps up the narrow

PARIS — Fueled by a lattice of centuries-old timbers, the fire moved hungrily across Notre Dame's rooftop toward the cathedral's iconic spire. It belched yellow smoke, spitting out gritty particles of wood, stone, lead and iron and wanted more. Far below, their vision obscured by fumes and tears, firefighters, priests and municipal workers passed treasures hand-to-hand, hoping the speed of desperation could outrun the flames.

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An inferno that raged through Notre Dame Cathedral for more than 12 hours destroyed its spire and its roof but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and a frantic rescue effort saved the The rear doors opened and within a few minutes , the cathedral was empty, he told Ouest-France newspaper.

Obscured by fumes and tears, firefighters, priests and municipal workers passed treasures hand-to-hand, hoping the speed of desperation could outrun the flames at Notre Dame . They had 66 minutes .

They had 66 minutes.

The first alarm sounded at 6:20 p.m., silencing the priest and a few hundred worshippers and tourists inside.

"Everyone was immobilized by shock for maybe a minute," said Johann Vexo, who was in the organ loft for Monday Mass. Shock, but no panic. The rear doors opened and within a few minutes, the cathedral was empty, he told Ouest-France newspaper.

For 23 minutes, it seemed like a false alarm. Then at 6:43 p.m. a second smoke detector went off and the fire showed its face, flickering in the wooden timbers and visible to anyone looking north from Paris' Left Bank.

The first firetrucks lumbered through rush-hour traffic, blasting their two-tone sirens at full volume to reach the island that is the historic and geographic heart of Paris. For that first half-hour, it looked like the fire couldn't possibly leave more than a small age mark on the nearly 900-year-old building — more akin to the inevitable wear on stone's rough edges than the fury of the French Revolution that left it in ruins for decades.

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They had 66 minutes . The first alarm sounded at 6.20pm, silencing the priest and a few hundred worshippers and tourists inside. “Everyone was immobilised by shock for maybe a minute ,” said Johann Vexo, who was in the organ loft as usual for the daily Mass on Monday.

They had 66 minutes . The first alarm sounded at 6:20 p.m., silencing the priest and a few hundred worshippers and tourists inside. READ MORE: Catastrophic fire engulfs Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. "Everyone was immobilized by shock for maybe a minute ," said Johann Vexo, who was in the organ

Across the Seine in City Hall, Mayor Anne Hidalgo glanced out the window during an evening meeting to see a yellow cloud blotting out the sky. She rushed to the island.

"I came here and felt powerless as the flames overtook the cathedral," she said Tuesday.

Bridge after bridge along the Seine filled with somber onlookers, all facing the cathedral built for the ages. They dotted the stone walkways that line the river. They wept as flames overtook the rooftop spire.

Below it, nestled deep in the cathedral, was the treasure chest, keeper of Notre Dame's most sacred relics.

Firefighters cracked the chest open, pulling out the Crown of Thorns revered as the one worn by Jesus Christ at his crucifixion. Made of rushes wrapped into a wreath and tied with gold filament, it had been kept under glass since 1896. The tunic of St. Louis, believed to have belonged to King Louis IX, came out of the chest along with fragments of the cross and a nail, said Patrick Chauvet, rector of Notre Dame Cathedral.

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A race to the wrong building. Notre - Dame still stands only because firefighters decided to risk everything, a New York Times reconstruction has found. “I think Notre - Dame is burning,” someone posted on a Twitter video at 6:52 p.m. Within just a few minutes , the smoke, blowing west with the

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The relics were safe.

Then came the artwork.

"We had to get them, in the smoke, as debris was falling to protect them," Gen. Jean-Claude Gallet of the fire brigade told BFM television.

At 7:49 p.m., the 19th-century spire that was the architectural masterpiece of Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and his post-Revolutionary restoration broke apart and fell through the nave. The bronze weathercock tumbled, taking with it three relics sealed inside in 1935.

It had been 66 minutes since the first flames were spotted.

The sky above the cathedral flamed orange, and the fire lurched toward Notre Dame's iconic towers, then slipped inside.

As darkness fell, 20 firefighters climbed inside the two towers "at great risk to their lives, to attack the fire from the inside and save the building," said Laurent Nunez, deputy interior minister.

The spire was lost. Could Notre Dame itself be saved? From inside and out, firefighters fought the battle of their lives — a battle for the ages.

At 9:49 p.m. Nunez voiced the fear that haunted Paris and beyond. The smell of smoke had long since reached beyond the city center, permeating homes and apartments miles (kilometers) away. Sirens wailed ceaselessly. Hundreds of firefighters were doing their utmost. And, Nunez said, no one knew whether it would be enough.

Notre Dame Reconstruction Effort Attracts Nearly $1 Billion

Notre Dame Reconstruction Effort Attracts Nearly $1 Billion More than 800 million euros ($920 million) has already been pledged for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame Cathedral, according to French Culture Minister Franck Riester. The normal annual budget for restoring national monuments is about 300 million euros, he said. The immediate priority is to secure Notre Dame’s vault, which has a gaping hole in the middle after its spire collapsed during Monday night’s fire, Riester said in an interview on France2 television. Other quickly needed steps are removing melted statues that are weighing on fragile parts of the outer structure.

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People look at the Notre Dame Cathedral, which was englufed a massive fire on April 16 in Paris on May 25, 2019. The 850-year-old Gothic architecture, one of the most famous landmarks, is currently under repair work. 66 Minutes : The Frantic Race to Save Notre Dame .

The 20 firefighters struggled on in the towers. Red-hot embers floated down from the glowing hole where the spire once stood, settling on the blackened marble floor and the pile of debris that was all that was left of the spire. It had been "a masterwork of Viollet-le-Duc" and a tribute to what restoration could achieve, said Kevin Murphy, an expert on historical restoration from Vanderbilt University. It was gone, as were the roof's irreplaceable ancient wooden beams, cut from trees that were alive a millennium ago.

At 11:23 p.m., the fire chief said the rest of the structure, including the cathedral's twin bell towers, had been saved. It had been within 30 minutes of collapse.

It took 10 more hours for the last flames to be put out. The spire's bronze rooster, long a symbol of France, was found Tuesday, deformed by the heat but recognizable nonetheless.

"Beyond emotion, beyond words, beyond tears," Christophe Castaner, France's interior minister, said Tuesday as he visited the cathedral, "What I want to express is the pride of the men and women who committed to saving Notre Dame."

Read More

France Debates How to Rebuild Notre-Dame, Weighing History and Modernity.
Workers are still focused largely on shoring up the damaged structure, but how closely the planned reconstruction should adhere to the original design and materials has become a point of contention in a nation long accustomed to arguing over the balance between modernity and cultural heritage. President Emmanuel Macron gave the debate particular urgency when he said the cathedral would be rebuilt within five years, a time frame that some experts have called too optimistic. Mr. Macron said on Wednesday that he was not opposed to replacing the spire that collapsed in the blaze with “a contemporary architectural gesture.

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