The British ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn, has tweeted a tribute to “the bravery and skill of the Paris firefighters, who have worked through the night, and whose efforts have preserved the cathedral’s main structure from the inferno”.
This morning I went the Elysée Palace to deliver messages to President Macron from Her Majesty The Queen and The Prince of Wales following last night’s terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral @RoyalFamily pic.twitter.com/7h7yBijTKY— Ed Llewellyn (@EdLlewellynFCO) April 16, 2019
A huge tribute this morning to the bravery and skill of the Paris firefighters, who have worked through the night – and whose efforts have preserved the Cathedral’s main structure from the inferno pic.twitter.com/53ImcwXkKL— Ed Llewellyn (@EdLlewellynFCO) April 16, 2019
Paintings to be transferred to Louvre
The structure of Notre Dame is still “sound” while large paintings inside the cathedral are believed to have sustained some smoke damage but are largely intact, a press conference addressed by government officials has just been told.
Ministers from the culture and interior ministry paid tribute to the courage of more than 500 fire fighters from Paris and surrounding regions who braved dangerous conditions to battle the blaze.
Specialists from France’s culture ministry are now working alongside fire fighters while particular emphasis is being placed on the north of the building.
The paintings are likely to be removed to the Louvre on Friday.
The Notre Dame blaze has stirred memories in the English city of York, where the cathedral of York minster was badly damaged 35 years ago.
“York Minster has lost three of its four medieval wood roofs to fire,” said Professor of History of Art, Tim Ayers, at the University of York’s Department of History of Art.
“It remains to be seen how well the Notre Dame vaults have done their job, but preliminary pictures suggest that they have survived, at least in part, protecting the interior.”
His colleague, Dr Jez Wells, from the University of York’s Department of Music, said: “I remember when first working as a recording engineer, capturing chant in Notre Dame Cathedral and noting its incredible reverberation. The building’s reverberation, its own response to sounds made within it, is so strong and rich that it really seemed as if the ghosts of its past were coming out of the walls and singing along.
“It was a light bulb moment in my appreciation and grasp of sound and recording. The fire damage to the roof of the building means that it >> can no longer make those same responses to sound that it has been making for over 800 years, which is tragic indeed.
“Sound reverberation could be considered a niche topic, but when you listen to the sounds that Notre Dame makes, you realise the power in its audible rendition of space, geometry, fabric and time. Facebook Twitter
There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories about the cause of the fire doing the rounds on social media, but one was very quickly and effectively shut down during an interview on Fox News.
The interviewee is Philippe Karsenty, the deputy mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine and a long-term right wing activist, who opened up by referring to churches being desecrated every week across France.
Fox New anchor Shep Smith quickly stepped in when Karsenty goes on to say of the Notre Dame fire: “Of course, you will hear the story about political correctness which will tell you it was probably an accident.
Smith tells him: “Sir, we are not going to speculate here about the cause of something you don’t know. If you have observations or you know something we would love to hear it.”
As Karsenty speaks again to say that people need “to be ready,” Smith tells him: “No sir, we are not doing that here. Not on my watch.
Karsenty was convicted of defamation in 2013 for accusing a state television network of staging a video that depicted a Palestinian boy being killed in a firefight between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces.
The Queen has sent a message to the President of France, saying she was “deeply saddened to see the images of the fire which has engulfed Notre Dame Cathedral” and extending her “sincere admiration to the emergency services”
“I extend my sincere admiration to the emergency services who have risked their lives to try to save this important national monument,” said a statement posted on the British royal family’s website and Facebook.
“My thoughts and prayers are with those who worship at the Cathedral and all of France at this difficult time.”
It’s been almost 27 years since Windsor Castle, one of the Queen’s official residences, was wrecked by fire. A £36.5 million repair project involving 1,500 building workers saw the 14th-century building reopen in 1997.
Police are interviewing workers from the companies involved in the renovation of the cathedral to establish the cause of fire, according to the Paris public prosecutor, Rémy Heitz.
The Guardian’s Kim Willsher tweets some updates:
Paris public prosecutor Rémy Heitz says police are interviewing workers from the companies involved in the renovation of #NotreDame to establish the cause of fire. Says nothing to suggest the fire was anything other than accidental: ie ruling out a criminal act for moment. 1/2— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) April 16, 2019