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Video shows extent of damage to Notre Dame

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“… today we absolutely cannot say that Notre-Dame has been saved.”

It’s been eight months since tragedy befell Notre Dame Cathedral, when a fire burned through the roof and spire. While the repair efforts are underway, a recently released video of the ruined church has shown the extent of the damage, and it’s enough to bring us to tears. 

Where Notre Dame once stood as an ineffable monument to the Catholic faith, now stands a burned husk, roofless and threatening to collapse. The expansive floor, where all pews have been removed, has been scraped clean of the char, but some piles of rubble remain. They hung tarps under the open, destroyed roof, but unfortunately, these tarps do not stop the rain from puddling on the floor. 

On the roof, there are 300 tons of scaffolding, which were set up for building maintenance prior to the fire. The scaffolding was partially burned in the fire and workers must erect enormous supports under it before they can begin the slow process of removal, which is not expected to be complete until June 2020. Other spots on the roof are littered with huge piles of burned wood and metal supports.

The area in front of Notre Dame has been set up with white tents, which protect various pieces of stone and wood that have been salvaged. These pieces will hopefully be used in the restoration of the Cathedral, but it’s hard to say how long it will be until they will be pieced back together.

Philippe Villeneuve, chief architect of the restoration effort, was featured in the above video. He cautioned:

“If we remove the burned wood and the pieces of the framing that burned, and the metal elements that accumulated since April 15, we don’t know what will happen. So today we absolutely cannot say that Notre-Dame has been saved.”

In October, President Emmanuel Macron promised the people of France that Notre Dame would be restored within 5 years, but after seeing the extent of the damages, this timeline could be unrealistically optimistic.

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