Notre-Dame in flames on FOUR CORNERS
Notre-Dame in Flames: the dramatic story of how the world famous Cathedral, and its treasures, were saved.
“We saw Notre-Dame burning… I understood that it was going to be a huge task.” Director of Operations, French Civil Protection
On the 15th of April, the world watched on in horror as one of France’s most famous landmarks, Notre-Dame Cathedral caught alight.
“It’s the kind of situation where you think you’re in a nightmare. I think, like everyone else, I was watching open mouthed.” Heritage architect
The Cathedral had stood for more than 800 years, through revolutions and world wars, but as the flames took hold, the architectural icon was in peril.
“We were the first to arrive on the scene and our mission was to climb up the spiral staircases which are very narrow.” Paris fire brigade chief
What took place over the next nine hours was an epic battle by some 400 firefighters to save the building. In this dramatic film, those leading the operation explain how events unfolded.
“We heard this enormous noise and we couldn’t see anything around us… everything was completely alight… It was the spire that had collapsed, not far from us.” Paris fire brigade chief
Through interviews and video filmed by the fire authorities and eyewitnesses, the film captures the drama minute by minute.
“It was a matter of not causing more damage. Water tankers are not made to dump water on a building like this.” Director of Operations, French Civil Protection
It wasn’t just the building that was a concern. The Cathedral housed priceless pieces of art and religious relics. Conservators raced to the scene to oversee a massive operation to save these precious pieces.
“The two of us climbed an altar, unhooked the painting and it was the first artwork we took out.” Paris fire brigade chaplain
As investigations into the cause of the fire continue, those who have dedicated their life to Notre-Dame are grateful that in spite of the damage, the building remains.
“This morning I was asked ‘Do you believe in miracles?’ I said ‘I believe in fire fighters.’” Notre- Dame priest
Notre-Dame in Flames, a Metropole Television film, goes to air on Monday 27th May at 8.30pm. It is replayed on Tuesday 28th May at 1.00pm and Wednesday 29th at 11.20pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.10pm EST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.
FOUR CORNERS - Monday 27 May 2019 at 8:30pm