Firefighters stand near the fire.
Notre Dame’s centuries-old wooden roof beams, stone exterior and soaring Gothic architecture made Monday’s blaze especially difficult to tackle and Paris firefighters deserve praise for their efforts, experts say.
The biggest problem, experts say, was accessing the wooden ceiling beams which formed the frame for the soaring roof.
“It was pretty evident in the first 20 minutes that it was going to be a bad fire,” said Gregg Favre, a former firefighter with the St. Louis Fire Department in the United States.
Aerial options like the one suggested by US President Donald Trump were considered unrealistic.
“Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump said in a tweet.
But the French civil security agency, Securite Civile, said in a tweet — in English, an apparent response to Trump’s suggestion — that any aerial water dumping could “weaken the structure of Notre-Dame and result in collateral damage to the buildings in the vicinity.”
The spire and most of the roof of the centuries-old cathedral have been destroyed, but the two bell towers and the main edifice were saved.
Video released by the French Interior Ministry showed the scale of the response. Authorities deployed some 400 firefighters, pumped water from the Seine and flew drones to survey the damage.
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