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Heatwave brings new threat to fire-damaged Notre Dame

Specialists are working to stabilise the cathedral’s structure before reconstruction work begins.

Scaffolding is erected during preliminary work to repair the fire damage (Rafael Yaghobzadeh, Pool/AP)
Scaffolding is erected during preliminary work to repair the fire damage (Rafael Yaghobzadeh, Pool/AP)

The heatwave sweeping Europe could cause the vaulted ceilings of fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral to collapse, the chief architect of France’s historic monuments has warned.

Dozens of sensors dotted around the 12th-century monument have shown no indication that it is deteriorating, but architect Philippe Villeneuve is worried.

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French chief architect of historical sites Philippe Villeneuve speaks during a press conference detailing the preliminary work to repair the fire damage (Rafael Yaghobzadeh, Pool/AP)

Mr Villeneuve said Wednesday that the stone walls are still saturated with water sprayed by firefighters during the April 15 blaze.

He said they could dry too fast amid the record temperatures expected in Paris this week.

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Charred debris has been stored (Rafael Yaghobzadeh, Pool/AP)

He said so far the masonry is stable but the structure remains fragile.

“What I fear is that the joints or the masonry, as they dry, lose their cohesion … and all of sudden, the vault gives way.”

Specialists are working to stabilise the cathedral’s structure before reconstruction work begins.

PA

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