Airbrush

Fire in Notre Dame in Paris

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Was anyone watching this?  It took a long time for the news to even mention that firefighters were trying to get close.  It took a half hour for ONE fire hose to start on the fire.  Can anyone figure out what is wrong with the performance of the Paris Fire Dept?   I suspect that the fire trucks had trouble getting through barriers for terrorists.  Why not scramble tanker planes to drop water on the fire?  Were there any local fire hydrants?  Can anyone figure out how to prevent this happening to other historical buildings?  Maybe install a sprinkler system, I don't know.

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5 minutes ago, Airbrush said:

Was anyone watching this?  It took a long time for the news to even mention that firefighters were trying to get close.  It took a half hour for ONE fire hose to start on the fire.  Can anyone figure out what is wrong with the performance of the Paris Fire Dept?   I suspect that the fire trucks had trouble getting through barriers for terrorists.  Why not scramble tanker planes to drop water on the fire?  Were there any local fire hydrants?  Can anyone figure out how to prevent this happening to other historical buildings?  Maybe install a sprinkler system, I don't know.

When I arose at 0500hrs AEST, the news on the TV had it as breaking news. One point raised was that the force of the water on the 850 year old Cathedral's wall, could start them crumbling and collapse. Other then that reports was that 400 fire fighters were on the ground with a number of air appliances to facilitate the fight. 

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Posted (edited)

It's a very very sad day. Especially sad for the French people.

It appears so renovations are typically unintended route to destruction of such historic buildings. It's not the first time to start fire during renovation.

So worldwide people should learn from it, and revise renovation procedures and take French lesson, to not repeat it again, in their homeland.

Usage of fast electric devices to cut wood or metal on the site (instead of bringing ready element).. ? Created in the cutting process highly flammable gases could gather on the top of roof, just waiting for single spark..

Lack of fire extinguisher for every worker.. ? Better to take more fire extinguishers and not having to use them, rather than have less and need them urgently..

As long as price of renovation is the main reason for choosing an offer from private renovation company, such accidents are practicably inevitable.

 

Edited by Sensei

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45 minutes ago, Airbrush said:

 Why not scramble tanker planes to drop water on the fire?  Were there any local fire hydrants?  Can anyone figure out how to prevent this happening to other historical buildings? 

The problem, as I understand it, with that suggestion is that they are afraid that the force from the water dropped from tankers could collapse the already weakened structure.

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23 minutes ago, Janus said:

The problem, as I understand it, with that suggestion is that they are afraid that the force from the water dropped from tankers could collapse the already weakened structure.

Thats what the firefighter expert on my local TV said. 

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Posted (edited)

The question remains, why did it take a HALF HOUR for the first hose to start working on the fire?  Usually the fire department gets to the fire sooner than that.

Edited by Airbrush

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1 minute ago, Airbrush said:

The question remains, why did it take a HALF HOUR for the first hose to start working on the fire?  Usually the fire department gets to the fire sooner than that. 

Notre Dame spire had 91.44 meters height..

You don't know whether enough length devices reaching it were available at the place or they had to bring them from other country region..

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Sensei said:

Notre Dame spire had 91.44 meters height..

You don't know whether enough length devices reaching it were available at the place or they had to bring them from other country region..

Ancient buildings like that should have some kind of exterior, automated fire hose that can be controlled by joy stick guided by cameras, so it can reach the roof of the entire building.  They would have saved a lot more of the cathedral with such a system.  It is near a river with unlimited water supply.  It does not seem like a big engineering challenge, does it?

The comment below has a lot of questions but no answers, yet.

"Sometimes the fight is lost before it begins.

There are a lot of factors involved, how long was the fire burning before the fire was reported ?

How long did it take before the fire department was in place with enough apparatus and enough water?

Were there fire hydrants available with enough water volume to extinguish a fire that size?

Did they have to take the time to set up to draft water from the river?

Were the fire pumps large enough ?

Aerial ladders, high enough?

So many questions, I don’t know the answers.

They will be talking about this fire for a long time"

https://www.quora.com/Why-couldn-t-the-Paris-fire-department-stop-the-Notre-Dame-fire-before-so-much-damage-was-done

Edited by Airbrush

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Posted (edited)

@Airbrush

Similar accident of "ancient" building in UK was Windsor Castle fire in 1992

https://www.google.com/search?q=Windsor+Castle+fire

" The Private Chapel in the north-east corner of the State Apartments was being renovated as part of a long term programme of work within the castle, and it is believed that one of the spotlights being used in the work set fire to a curtain by the altar during the morning."

 

Edited by Sensei

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18 hours ago, Airbrush said:

Ancient buildings like that should have some kind of exterior, automated fire hose that can be controlled by joy stick guided by cameras,

Yea - dam those architects from 1163!... always cutting corners on the latest fire tech and health and safety procedures in place of budget constraints. They had enough money for a giant golden cross though didn't they!  ;-)   

18 hours ago, Airbrush said:

They will be talking about this fire for a long time"

At the end of the day - no-one died... in that respect it was a 'good' fire. 

 

I was a little sickened by the very pious sounding man on the radio who was quick to donate 100 million dollars for refurb. So far 600 million dollars have been raised...  where were these people when the families of Grenfield tower lost their homes and loved ones? Lets get some perspective - it is a building and no-one was killed. Move on and be thankful there was no loss of life... it isn't half as tragic as some are making out. 

 

 

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4 hours ago, DrP said:

I was a little sickened by the very pious sounding man on the radio who was quick to donate 100 million dollars for refurb.

Yea, we spend much more on killing people.  

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As the roof of Notre-Dame of Paris shall be rebuilt, the usual interrogation is: identical to the previous version, or modernized?

The previous roofing did resist corrosion for long, but its dark grey lead was horrible. Sorry, but yuk. We have better choices now than in the 19th century.

A first hypothesis would be anodised aluminium alloy: 1050A, 6060, few more. These resist corrosion nicely, and anodisation improves further. Window frames of anodised 6060 show no corrosion in cities after 40 years, so I hope careful anodisation, possibly on alloy 1080 or 1099, would last for centuries. As needed for fastening, welding must be made before heat treatment, and folding before anodisation. The alumina layer can include nice pigments like deep gold colour, that seem to stay for centuries. All this needs to be checked.

Titanium, alloyed or not, resists corrosion. It can be anodised, and while including pigments isn't done up to now, just the chosen oxide thickness gives nice colours, including gold, or blue and red for Paris. I trust this interference colour to be eternal.

Aluminium and titanium would make a lighter roofing than lead. The wind drag stays the same.

Stainless steel, for instance duplex, would definitely resist corrosion, but colour by anodisation is said not to last. I feel bare stainless steel isn't nice enough.

At the price of a cathedral, even exotic metals are affordable if not cheap. 2mm sheets over 100m*50m weigh 100-160t, so even tantalum would cost only ~60M€ and be eternal, while niobium is cheaper and less hard. Zirconium and hafnium are dark. Supposedly, coloured anodisation isn't done for them up to now, but I wouldn't like bare metal, even if brilliant.

Marc Schaefer, aka Enthalpy

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Posted (edited)

The architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte too suggested to use titanium instead of lead for the roofing, earlier than I did :
francetvinfo.fr - bfmtv.com - (both in French)

He also proposes a metallic structure instead of oak. I stopped short of writing it because the raw data of oak tells it outperforms the alloys of aluminium or iron that resist corrosion and are easy to weld. Though, assemblies of metal beams lose less strength than with wood.

He even proposes a titanium structure, which I consider difficult. I would not dare to weld titanium in the wild, as it demands an extreme protection against the atmosphere. Assembly by other means like bolts often waste much strength. But this depends on ingenuous ideas and practices, like welding complete arches in the workshop.

He also describes as an advantage that titanium can look like the original, but I find the lead roofing horrible, and prefer to have a nice bright colour made possible by aluminium or titanium.

Edited by Enthalpy

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Posted (edited)
On 4/17/2019 at 3:13 AM, DrP said:

Yea - dam those architects from 1163!... always cutting corners on the latest fire tech and health and safety procedures in place of budget constraints. They had enough money for a giant golden cross though didn't they!  ;-)   

Yes, but old buildings can always be retro-fitted with safety devices.  Why don't they build an ornate tower that is actually a swiveling HOSE, controllable by joystick and camera monitors, that can reach the entire structure?  Any ancient structure can have such a firefighting structure retro-fit, that is hardly noticeable, but blends into the exterior design.   

Edited by Airbrush

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On 4/15/2019 at 9:36 PM, Airbrush said:

Why not scramble tanker planes to drop water on the fire? 

Srsly?

That's the sort of thing Trump would say.

On 4/15/2019 at 9:36 PM, Airbrush said:

Were there any local fire hydrants?

That question is " in Seine "

 

 

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The answers I heard to some questions above about fighting the fire, in no special order:

Paris' firefighters are highly regarded professionals who use(d) to be quick and efficient. But recently they took very long to extinguish a building fire that seemed banal to my untrained eye. The explanation I heard from the media, that the building was in second position from the street and this prevented using the normal equipment, was ludicrous, as about every street in Paris has two rows of buildings.

Hydrants, trucks... are abundant and in good state. Driving in Paris is an odyssey for normal people but the mean delay there for firefighters in France is 13 min from call to operation, less in Paris. They have the keys and tools to remove all obstacles. The streets around Notre-Dame aren't by far the most crammed in Paris.

I too heard that water bombers would destroy the old walls. I'm not fully convinced, because dropping the water from higher altitude reduces the impact force, and helicopters could do it more gently. Tanking is possible at an airport. But there is one other reason: the water bombers are based in Gardanne and would have taken roughly four hours to arrive in Paris. Plus some risk of being shot down if someone is unaware, since overflying Paris is forbidden.

The firefighters' water jets couldn't reach the roof, this is BAD. They had 400 people quickly at the site, that must be >50 trucks, and I saw ONE water jet at a time and quite late. Essentially everything that could burn, did. The wood structure continued to burn for about 1.5h after the firefighters arrived, until the complete roof was lost. They couldn't do much more than taking artefacts out of the cathedral. It must be a very bad feeling for the professionals. The media commented "the towers were endangered, the firefighters saved them" and I vaguely suppose this is communication: the towers were not at risk, but the politicians had to report some sort of victory.

Most buildings in Paris are 7 storeys tall by law, because this is how high the fire brigade reaches. Notre-Dame's roof is much higher. Taller buildings have their own means to extinguish fires, the cathedral didn't. In that sense, the fight was lost before it began, yes. And it was fool.

I heard that an automatic extinguishing equipment would be too heavy for the old walls. My limited understanding is that skyscrapers have water reserves at the top, which may be difficult to add to a cathedral, but it should be possible to feed sprinklers from a tank on the ground, with a good pump or a pressure vessel.

A first detector raised an alarm an hour before but people didn't find any fire. No more details. After the second alarm, reacting with extinguishers and buckets wasn't allegedly possible any more. I don't quite grasp how a fire might remain silent for an hour among old dust and dry oak wood, nor how it propagated among oak over >50m in two hours, but I have no experience for fires of that size.

On 4/17/2019 at 12:13 PM, DrP said:

So far 600 million dollars have been raised...  where were these people when the families of Grenfield tower lost their homes and loved ones?

900M€ presently, or 1G$. This is 16* the amount donated after the cyclone Idai in Mozambique and around
plataformamedia.com

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

Srsly?

That's the sort of thing Trump would say.

That question is " in Seine "

Actually Trump did tweet that after I suggested it. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-suggests-flying-water-tankers-to-put-out-notre-dame-fire-2019-4

But the planes were 4 hours away. 

Water dropped from planes from a high enough altitude just spreads out, atomizing into droplets that reach a gentle terminal velocity, falling like a gentle rain.

Edited by Airbrush

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Kudos to John on the insane word play 

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6 hours ago, Airbrush said:

Water dropped from planes from a high enough altitude just spreads out,

So, it would rain across Paris, but not actually put out a fire.
Let me know how that helps.
 

5 hours ago, iNow said:

Kudos to John on the insane word play 

Thanks.
 

15 hours ago, Enthalpy said:

The colour resembles lead oxide PbO

Maybe I'm biassed, but I think that the essential reason for the whole existence of analytical chemistry is that you can't tell what compounds something is made of by looking at it.

You can, I guess, rule out the bright red forms of Pb3O4.

I have seen similar smoke from a garden bonfire burning plant waste. I'm pretty sure that the lead content was sub ppm.


When helicopter type drones were first invented one of the more interesting uses I heard of was flying air sampling kit through plumes from fires and chemical leaks.

Unless someone did that near Notre Dame, we will never actually know what was in the smoke. It's pretty much pointless to speculate.

I will make the observation that lead melts when hot and tends to run down into the ashes of fires.


I'm interested to see the suggestions that it should be rebuilt with modern materials- at least in part for safety reasons.

As far as I can tell, the important thing about old buildings is that they are OLD buildings. If you replaced the cathedral with a modern titanium clad skyscraper you wouldn't have Notre Dame any more. Why not use fire retardant fibre glass resin. You can make that any colour you like. Perhaps part of the cost could be recovered by having advertising painted on it?

Or we could do the best job we can of restoring the

original. Call me old + grumpy, but that's what I'd prefer.

The building has been there for something like 800 years. and (at least according to wiki ) has only  caught fire once.

That's not a bad safety record.

The people who were playing the exciting, but dangerous, game of speculating ahead of the facts were all saying it was caused by hot work near timber. Not a bad guess, but, it seems, wrong.

The latest reports are blaming an electrical fault.
How does that sit with the idea that we should make it safer by adding modern stuff?

12 hours ago, Enthalpy said:

I don't quite grasp how a fire might remain silent for an hour among old dust and dry oak wood, nor how it propagated among oak over >50m in two hours, but I have no experience for fires of that size.

My understanding, from talking to professionals who, for example, investigated the Kings cross and Grenfell tower blazes can be summed up as "Fires do exactly as they damned well please".

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John Cuthber said:

So, it would rain across Paris, but not actually put out a fire.
Let me know how that helps.
 

Thanks.
 

Maybe I'm biassed, but I think that the essential reason for the whole existence of analytical chemistry is that you can't tell what compounds something is made of by looking at it.

You can, I guess, rule out the bright red forms of Pb3O4.

I have seen similar smoke from a garden bonfire burning plant waste. I'm pretty sure that the lead content was sub ppm.


When helicopter type drones were first invented one of the more interesting uses I heard of was flying air sampling kit through plumes from fires and chemical leaks.

Unless someone did that near Notre Dame, we will never actually know what was in the smoke. It's pretty much pointless to speculate.

I will make the observation that lead melts when hot and tends to run down into the ashes of fires.


I'm interested to see the suggestions that it should be rebuilt with modern materials- at least in part for safety reasons.

As far as I can tell, the important thing about old buildings is that they are OLD buildings. If you replaced the cathedral with a modern titanium clad skyscraper you wouldn't have Notre Dame any more. Why not use fire retardant fibre glass resin. You can make that any colour you like. Perhaps part of the cost could be recovered by having advertising painted on it?

Or we could do the best job we can of restoring the

original. Call me old + grumpy, but that's what I'd prefer.

The building has been there for something like 800 years. and (at least according to wiki ) has only  caught fire once.

That's not a bad safety record.

The people who were playing the exciting, but dangerous, game of speculating ahead of the facts were all saying it was caused by hot work near timber. Not a bad guess, but, it seems, wrong.

The latest reports are blaming an electrical fault.
How does that sit with the idea that we should make it safer by adding modern stuff?

My understanding, from talking to professionals who, for example, investigated the Kings cross and Grenfell tower blazes can be summed up as "Fires do exactly as they damned well please".

 

I saw a video once of a small fire starting in a room and what seems to happen is the room heats up for a while until the ignition temperature of the gases released by the warming is reached, then everything seems to catch fire instantly in an almost explosive manner.

Edited by StringJunky

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Thanks JC!

And, yes, rebuilding as it was has excellent arguments in its favour, which I'm sensitive to. It's more that NDDP was ugly to my taste, and the dark grey roof contributed much to that, so I'd catch the opportunity to build something more pretty, with a roof of nice colour, and spires on the towers at last.

==========

Trying to estimate the lead concentration sent in the air by the fire...

Smelter workers had (in some places, have) harmful amounts of lead in the body due to lead's vapour pressure. If melting pure lead at 601K, the (equilibrium!) vapour pressure is 10-11atm. If bronze molten at 1210K contains 10%Pb, the lead vapour pressure is 10-4atm.
wikipedia

In Notre-Dame's fire, the lead roofing melted around 600K, but the drops that landed on the burning oak beams didn't leave the flames. At 1400K, lead vapour pressure is 10-2atm. In addition, liquid or gaseous lead in the flames made oxides that went in the atmosphere as fumes, in amounts not limited by the vapour pressure. To my opinion, this is probably the yellow smoke that I never saw over a wood fire. Or what would have been in big amount in the roof?

The firefighters may have inhaled noxious amounts, especially those who climbed in the towers. The nearby inhabitants downwind too. Inhabitants farther downwind and by-passers maybe; the smoke didn't fall down immediately, according to the pictures.

I consider prudent that all people who smelled the smoke clean the clothes they wore, and clean with a vacuum cleaner all surfaces of rooms whose window was open.

Some study mapping the amounts would be urgently needed, diagnosis in the firefighters' blood more so. Treatments to lead poisoning exist
wikipedia

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, John Cuthber said:

So, it would rain across Paris, but not actually put out a fire.
Let me know how that helps.

Again you need to exaggerate.  There is an ideal height above Notre Dame where you can dump an amount of water from a helicopter or plane that does not "rain across Paris" and yet atomizes completely. 

If you have a chopper nearby that can, in 5 minutes, pick up a load of water from the river and deliver it with pinpoint accuracy, you can save half a billion in damages.

Edited by Airbrush

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3 minutes ago, Airbrush said:

If you have a chopper nearby

Nobody had.

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