Notre Dame’s age, design fueled fire and foiled firefighters

NEW YORK (AP) — Is there anything firefighters could have done to control the blaze that tore through Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral sooner?

Experts say the combination of a structure that’s more than 850 years old, built with heavy timber construction and soaring open spaces, and lacking sophisticated fire-protection systems left firefighters with devastatingly few options Monday once the flames got out of control.

U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant says that with a building like Notre Dame, it’s nearly impossible for firefighters to attack a blaze from within. Bryant says they instead have to be more defensive “and try to control the fire from the exterior.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities say that the cathedral’s structure, including its landmark rectangular towers, has been saved. But its spire collapsed.


Borenstein reported from Washington.


Follow Sisak at and Borenstein at

Categories: National & International News