Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

PARIS — A “computer glitch” may have been behind the fast-spreading fire that ravaged Notre Dame, the cathedral’s rector said Friday, as architects and construction workers tried to figure out how to stabilize the damaged structure and protect it from the elements.

The fire burned through the lattice of enormous oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling, dangerously weakening the building. The surrounding neighbourhood has been blocked off, and stones have continued to tumble off the sides of the cathedral since Monday evening’s devastating blaze.

Speaking during a meeting of local business owners, rector Patrick Chauvet did not elaborate on the exact nature of the glitch, adding that “we may find out what happened in two or three months.”

On Thursday, Paris police investigators said they think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire.

The Parisien newspaper has reported that investigators are considering whether the fire could be linked to a computer glitch or related to temporary elevators used in the renovation that was underway at the time the cathedral caught fire. Chauvet said there were fire alarms throughout the building, which he described as “well protected.”

Charlotte Hubert, president of a group of French architects who specialize in historic monuments, told BFM television that experts plan to spread a custom-made peaked tarpaulin across the cathedral’s roof, with enough space to also shield workers rebuilding the frame.

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to set out reconstruction ideas during meetings Friday with officials from the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO.

Macron is moving quickly on the fire-ravaged monument’s reconstruction, which is being viewed both as a push to make it part of his legacy and a way to move past the divisive yellow vest protests over economic issues in France.

Notre Dame’s reconstruction is prompting widespread debate across France, with differing views emerging over whether it should involve new technologies and designs. Macron’s office has, for example, said the president wants a “contemporary architectural gesture to be considered” for the collapsed spire, which wasn’t part of the original cathedral.

Macron hasn’t offered any specifics on his vision for the roof or whether the frame should be wood, metal or concrete, according to his cultural heritage envoy, Stephane Bern. He has named a general, Jean-Louis Georgelin, former chief of staff of the armed forces, to lead the reconstruction effort.

Over $1 billion has already poured in from people from all walks of life around the world to restore Notre Dame.

Judith Kagan, a conservation official at France’s Culture Ministry, said the artworks inside Notre Dame had suffered no major damage from the fire and the pieces were being removed from the building for their protection.

The Notre Dame fire delayed Macron’s long-awaited plans to quell anti-government protests that have marred his presidency. The French leader abandoned a planned TV address to the nation on the evening of the fire, heading to the scene instead and declaring: “We will rebuild Notre Dame.”

According to an opinion poll by BVA institute published Friday — the first carried out since the fire — Macron has gained three points in popularity in the past month with an approval rating of 32%. That advance puts him back at the support level of September, before the yellow vest crisis, BVA said.

Although all French polls show that Macron’s popularity has remain depressed since a tax increase on retirees last year, they suggest his party may be ahead in France’s May 26 European Parliament election, with Marine Le Pen’s far-right party, the National Rally, close behind.

Macron is now expected to detail his new measures next week. Macron earlier was planning to respond to demonstrators’ concerns over their loss of purchasing power with tax cuts for lower-income households and measures to boost pensions and help single parents.

Despite the destruction of Notre Dame dominating the news in France, a new round of yellow vest protests is planned on Saturday across the country, including in Paris.

In a hopeful development Friday, 180,000 bees being kept in in hives on Notre Dame’s lead roofing were discovered alive.

“I am so relieved. I saw satellite photos that showed the three hives didn’t burn. I thought they had gone with the cathedral,” Nicolas Geant, the monument’s beekeeper, told the AP.

Geant has looked after the bees since 2013, when they were installed as part of a city-wide initiative to boost declining bee numbers.

Since the insects have no lungs, Geant said the CO2 in the fire’s heavy smoke put the bees into a sedated state instead of killing them. He said when bees sense fire they “gorge themselves on honey” and protect their queen. He said European bees never abandon their hives.

 

Just Posted

Suspects shot at pursuing police during crime spree

No police officers were injured in May 17 shooting

Mental health survey looks at children and youth in Red Deer

Parent and guardians experiences accessing services for children

Respect Day in Red Deer

Sexual Violence Awareness Month in Red Deer

Leasee frustrated with work stoppage order at Paradise Shores

On May 17th, the Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) issued a stop order at the site

Updated: Lacombe not happy with proposed Highway 2 rest stop location

Lacombe says rest stop should be further south

B.C.’s fight to regulate bitumen through pipelines to go to Canada’s top court

BC Appeal Court judges found B.C. cannot restrict bitumen flow along Trans Mountain pipeline

Cast your votes for the Best of Red Deer

Nominations for the Best of Red Deer Readers’ Choice Awards are officially… Continue reading

Scholarship named in honour of young Lacombe crash victim

Scholarship given to committed Grade 12 teen mentors in the community

O Canada: Hockey hotbed now produces tennis players, too

ROME — It’s typically Canadian that Denis Shapovalov, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Bianca… Continue reading

Proctor back chasing running records after cross-Canada speed attempt

CALGARY — Dave Proctors’ attempted speed record across Canada last summer was… Continue reading

Big names headed to New Mexico to film ‘The Comeback Trail’

SANTA FE, N.M. — Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones… Continue reading

Lawyer: Deal close in Weinstein sexual misconduct lawsuits

NEW YORK — A tentative deal has been reached to settle multiple… Continue reading

Seniors: The unheard melodies

The sights and sounds around us enable us to experience our world.… Continue reading

Police find urn with ashes along bank of Red Deer River

RCMP find urn with ashes along bank of Red Deer River Red… Continue reading

Most Read