Why the Notre Dame fire was so hard to put out

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.

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.

The fire fighters would have been at a disadvantage “before they ever even pulled out of the firehouse,” added Favre.

The cathedral's ceiling contains thousands of oak beams, some of which date as far back as the 12th century.

Once the beams start burning, the stone exterior makes it harder for firefighters outside the building to get to the source of the flames. The stone traps heat and smoke, preventing them from working inside.

The Notre Dame’s height also posed a challenge, providing extra oxygen for the fire to breath and complicating efforts to reach the flames.

“The fuel load is way up in the air, and the firefighters can’t get to it quickly,” said Glenn Corbett, associate professor of fire science at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof of the Notre Dame.
Aerial options like the one suggested by US President Donald Trump were also considered unrealistic.

“Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump said in a tweet.

But according to Corbett, no plane pilot could drop water “exactly in that one spot moving several hundred miles an hour over it.”

Corbett also ruled out the use of helicopters: “One of the issues you’ve got here, is that thermal updraft, that’s a chimney effectively, you can’t fly a helicopter in hot air. The air is so thin.”

Firefighters stand near Notre Dame.

The French civil security agency, Securite Civile, said in an apparent reference 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.”

Despite the huge challenges, the 400 firefighters were able to save a significant proportion of the cathedral.

Thomas Von Essen, a former commissioner of the New York City Fire Department who served during the September 11 attacks, said a photograph of the interior was encouraging.

“It’s not, you know, 30 feet of debris … stuff that’s going to be smoldering for days. It looks like they got this fire out,” said Von Essen.

Smoke rises in front of the altar cross the cathedral.

“The fact that they were able to control the fire spread as much as they did and save a large portion of the building, including the two bell towers, it’s a tremendous effort,” said Favre.

“I think any firefighter that you ask that does this for a living would tell you that this is a significant firefighting event and those firefighters should be praised significantly.”

Why the Notre Dame fire was so hard to put out

The spire and most of the roof of the centuries outdated cathedral have been destroyed, however the two bell towers and the most important edifice have been saved.

Video launched by the French Inside Ministry confirmed the scale of the response. Authorities deployed some 400 firefighters, pumped water from the Seine and flew drones to survey the injury.

The largest downside, consultants say, was accessing the wood ceiling beams which fashioned the body for the hovering roof.

“It was fairly evident in the first 20 minutes that it was going to be a foul fire,” stated Gregg Favre, a former firefighter with the St. Louis Fire Division in the United States.

The fire fighters would have been at an obstacle “earlier than they ever even pulled out of the firehouse,” added Favre.

The cathedral's ceiling contains thousands of oak beams, some of which date as far back as the 12th century.

As soon as the beams begin burning, the stone exterior makes it tougher for firefighters exterior the constructing to get to the supply of the flames. The stone traps warmth and smoke, stopping them from working inside.

The Notre Dame’s top additionally posed a problem, offering additional oxygen for the fire to breath and complicating efforts to attain the flames.

“The gas load is approach up in the air, and the firefighters cannot get to it shortly,” stated Glenn Corbett, affiliate professor of fire science at New York’s John Jay Faculty of Legal Justice.

Flames and smoke are seen billowing from the roof of the Notre Dame.
Aerial choices like the one urged by US President Donald Trump have been additionally thought-about unrealistic.

“Maybe flying water tankers might be used to put it out. Should act shortly!” Trump stated in a tweet.

However in accordance to Corbett, no airplane pilot may drop water “precisely in that one spot transferring a number of hundred miles an hour over it.”

Corbett additionally dominated out the use of helicopters: “One in all the points you have bought right here, is that thermal updraft, that is a chimney successfully, you may’t fly a helicopter in sizzling air. The air is so skinny.”

Firefighters stand near Notre Dame.

The French civil safety company, Securite Civile, stated in an obvious reference to Trump’s suggestion that any aerial water dumping may “weaken the construction of Notre-Dame and end in collateral injury to the buildings in the neighborhood.”

Regardless of the enormous challenges, the 400 firefighters have been ready to save a major proportion of the cathedral.

Thomas Von Essen, a former commissioner of the New York Metropolis Fire Division who served throughout the September 11 assaults, stated {a photograph} of the inside was encouraging.

“It isn’t, you already know, 30 toes of particles … stuff that is going to be smoldering for days. It seems like they bought this fire out,” stated Von Essen.

Smoke rises in front of the altar cross the cathedral.

“The truth that they have been ready to management the fire unfold as a lot as they did and save a big portion of the constructing, together with the two bell towers, it is a super effort,” stated Favre.

“I believe any firefighter that you just ask that does this for a dwelling would inform you that it is a vital firefighting occasion and people firefighters needs to be praised considerably.”

Facts Source: https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/15/europe/firefighters-notre-dame-intl/index.html

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