Weakened Notre Dame at Risk of Collapse in European Heatwave

PARIS, FRANCE - APRIL 17: Notre-Dame Cathedral at sunrise following a major fire on Monday on April 17, 2019 in Paris, France. A fire broke out on Monday afternoon and quickly spread across the building, causing the famous spire to collapse. The cause is unknown but officials have said it …
Dan Kitwood/Getty

The chief architect of Notre Dame in Paris said he is concerned that the ongoing heatwave in Europe could risk the structural integrity of the fire-damaged cathedral.

Philippe Villeneuve said that he was deeply concerned about how the soaring temperatures would affect the already weakened structure of the building, fearing that it would even lead to a possible collapse, France Info reports.

On Thursday, Paris saw a record 42.6 degrees Celcius (108.9 degrees Fahrenheit), the hottest temperature in the French capital since records began.

“My anxiety is that the masonry joints, by dint of drying, lose their coherence, their cohesion, and their structural cavity, and that, in turn, the vault may fall,” Villeneuve said.

Work continues in the heat to empty the cathedral of remaining debris caused by the fire which destroyed the historic roof and spire of the church in April.

Following the tragic fire, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to rebuild the cathedral and while some feared that the cathedral may become modernised by the influence of modern architects, the French senate voted in May to rebuild the structure as it was before the fire occurred.

The Senate also expressed concerns about the five-year timeline proposed by the French leader, saying that it would lead to “cutting corners” in order to have the work completed on time.

Several prominent French billionaires also promised to pay millions to the restoration of the cathedral in the wake of the fire, but according to a report last month, none of the billionaires have so far given a penny to the project.

“The big donors haven’t paid. Not a cent,” Notre Dame press official André Finot said and added: “They want to know what exactly their money is being spent on and if they agree to it before they hand it over, and not just to pay employees’ salaries.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com


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