April 16, 2019
Paris’ most visited landmark went up in flames on Monday. Those close to the Notre Dame Cathedral have been evacuated by officials as firefighters work to put out the flames.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
In a follow-up post, the US president wrote: "God bless the people of France!" Local firefighters have been battling the enormous blaze, and one official reportedly revealed that the structure of the Notre Dame Cathedral could be saved from total destruction.
However, they didn’t use aircraft to drop water on the building. France’s civil defense agency appeared to dismiss this method earlier in a pair of tweets.
They wrote in French: “The drop of water by air on this type of building could indeed result in the collapse of the entire structure.” Then continued: “Alongside those ... who are currently doing the maximum to save #NotreDame.”
"If you hit that cathedral with tons of water from above, that’s going to collapse the entire structure."
Adding: “Helicopter or airplane, the weight of the water and the intensity of the drop at low altitude could indeed weaken the structure of Notre-Dame and result in collateral damage to the buildings in the vicinity.”
They later posted the update in English, writing:
“Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.”
So far, a cause for the fire at the building hasn’t been determined. The 12th-century 850-year-old cathedral is known to attract more than 13 million visitors each year.
It also happens to house a number of the country’s artistic masterpieces. The cathedral was being renovated at the time it caught fire.
Reports state that parts of the church’s historic spire have collapsed. Wayne McPartland, a retired New York City Fire Department battalion chief gave his thoughts on Trump’s suggested fire extinguishing method.
“If you hit that [cathedral] with tons of water from above, that’s going to collapse the entire structure and make the situation worse. If you miss, you might hit civilians in the street.”
Some video footage showed part of the roof of the cathedral collapsing onto itself. On Tuesday morning, during a news conference, French Junior Interior Minister Laurent Nunez gave an update.
Nunez revealed that the flames were under control but still not extinguished. On Monday evening, Paris fire Chief Jean-Claude Gallet said he believed firefighters had managed to save the cathedral's landmark rectangular towers.
However, there was still a risk that some of the interior structures could collapse.