Notre Dame Cathedral Still in a 'State of Peril' Nine Months After Fire

Notre Dame
Photo: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/Getty Images

There is still up to a 50 percent chance that Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral may not be salvaged almost a year after a devastating fire engulfed the beloved site.

“Notre Dame is not saved because ... there is an extremely important step ahead, which is to remove the scaffolding that had been built around the spire” before the fire, Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin told French broadcaster CNews. "The cathedral is still in a state of peril."

There is still a significant chance the scaffolding may fall on the cathedral’s vaulted ceilings.

The current condition of the vaults is unknown as more observations and work are required before moving forward in the renovation. The spire was undergoing renovation when the fire broke out in April last year.

The scaffolding is due to be removed by the middle of this year and restoration work should commence in 2021. French President Emmanuel Macron said he wants the renovation completed by 2024, when Paris hosts the Olympic games, but experts have said that is not a realistic timeframe.

More than $1 billion (€922 million) has been pledged to renovation efforts, Georgelin said, and about half of it has already been received by the church.

No decision has yet been made as to how the spire and roof will be rebuilt, nor what materials the renovation team will choose.

There have been numerous arguments in Paris whether or not to reconstruct the spire exactly as it was or to replace it with something more modern and symbolic. The spire wasn’t part of the original cathedral but added in 1859. France will host a design competition later this year for spire redesigns.

In June it was reported that the fire was a result of negligence, meaning either a cigarette that was not put out properly or an electrical misalignment could have caused the fire.

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