Church fires of all sizes, together with Monday’s huge blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, are typically “actually very exhausting to battle,” in line with CBS Information Radio correspondent Invoice Rehkopf, a volunteer firefighter for 30 years.

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“I am not there, [but] simply trying it, it is as if the dye was in all probability forged by the point firefighters arrived,” Rehkopf informed CBSN.

The hearth was excessive up on the roof, which Rehkopf stated introduced a logistical problem. Additionally, the cathedral sits on an island in the course of the River Seine, which can have made it troublesome for firefighters to get their equipment into place.

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If there was a chance to get in and rescue a few of the cathedral’s priceless artistic endeavors, firefighters would most definitely do it, Rehkopf stated. However massive statues and large non secular artifacts would virtually definitely be unimaginable to take away. And firefighters must be involved in regards to the structural integrity of the stone partitions, which can have been weakened by the extraordinary warmth.

Particular Report: Fireplace at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

“You can attempt to go inside and do one thing with it, however with the entire flammable materials inside a church and with these outdated timbers that construct up and comprise the trusses of the roof, they go up like tinder, and you do not need to put your individuals within the highway of something that may collapse,” he stated. “I am simply afraid the losses at this level might be tragic.”

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Rehkopf stated the fireplace introduced a worst-case situation for firefighters.

“All the roof construction between the place the spire stood and the bell towers has collapsed into the cathedral itself,” he stated. “Now you have obtained the fireplace and you have got the timbers and you have got the wreckage down into the nave of the constructing, and that is the place the artifacts and the artistic endeavors are that individuals are so justifiable involved about.”

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Paris police stated the reason for the blaze on the 12th-century cathedral was unknown, however the fireplace was “doubtlessly linked” to the renovation work being carried out on the web site, French media quoted the Paris fireplace brigade saying.

“The investigators will look very, very carefully at that when they get issues in management and are capable of interview the individuals who have been there and across the scene,” Rehkopf stated.

He added that there have been various potential causes for the fireplace — from {an electrical} drawback to one thing so simple as a tossed cigarette.

“Whether or not it is any person engaged on a roof or any person exterior of their home, casually throwing a cigarette right into a potted plant subsequent to vinyl siding, which is like liquid gasoline when it catches fireplace, from the smallest of sparks — and we have seen this with the wildfires out west — you may see such devastation,” he stated. “And that is why firefighters are all the time preaching prevention and consciousness about the place you are doing issues.”

One other issue was the heavy wind Rehkopf stated was pushing towards the entrance of the cathedral.

“As a substitute of burning towards the again the place [firefighters] may need been capable of comprise [the fire] and attempt to preserve the entrance of the constructing safe, the wind pushed that fireside alongside the roof line as much as the long-lasting bell towers,” he stated.

Rehkopf stated the fireplace won’t ever be forgotten by those that fought it.

“Firefighters actually had their fingers full after they obtained right here immediately, and definitely that is one that they’re going to return and discuss for the remainder of their careers,” he stated.


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