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Shock, sadness, but no panic: Minutes that saved Notre Dame

2019-04-17 Source: Jctrans

PARIS (AP) — Fueled by a lattice of centuries-old timbers, the fire moved hungrily across Notre Dame’s rooftop toward the cathedral’s iconic spire.

PARIS (AP) — Fueled by a lattice of centuries-old timbers, the fire moved hungrily across Notre Dame’s rooftop toward the cathedral’s iconic spire. It belched yellow smoke, spitting out gritty particles of wood, stone, lead and iron and wanted more. Far below, their vision obscured by fumes and tears, firefighters, priests and municipal workers passed treasures hand-to-hand, hoping the speed of desperation could outrun the flames.

At 9:49 p.m. Nunez voiced the fear that haunted Paris and beyond. The smell of smoke had long since reached beyond the city center, permeating homes and apartments miles (kilometers) away. Sirens wailed ceaselessly. Hundreds of firefighters were doing their utmost. And, Nunez said, no one knew whether it would be enough.

At 11:23 p.m., the fire chief said the rest of the structure, including the cathedral’s twin bell towers, had been saved. It had been within 30 minutes of collapse.

It took 10 more hours for the last flames to be put out. The spire’s bronze rooster, long a symbol of France, was found Tuesday, deformed by the heat but recognizable nonetheless.

“Beyond emotion, beyond words, beyond tears,” Christophe Castaner, France’s interior minister, said Tuesday as he visited the cathedral, “What I want to express is the pride of the men and women who committed to saving Notre Dame.”

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