Notre Dame rector sees ‘maybe’ 50 percent chance cathedral can be saved
Notre Dame may not be salvageable after damage caused by a fire earlier this year, the rector of the Parisian landmark told The Associated Press.
“Today we can say that there is maybe a 50 percent chance that it will be saved. There is also 50 percent chance of scaffolding falling onto the three vaults, so as you can see the building is still very fragile,” Monsignor Patrick Chauvet told AP in an interview published Wednesday.
Chauvet spoke to AP at a Christmas Eve midnight Mass at a nearby church. Notre Dame did not host Christmas Mass this year for the first time since the French Revolution.
Restoration on the cathedral likely won’t begin until 2021, Chauvet told AP. He said it would take about three years after renovations begin before the cathedral is safe enough for people to reenter, and estimated a full restoration will take longer.
Notre Dame’s lead roof and spire were destroyed by a fire on April 15. Many relics, including the Crown of Thorns, were saved, but other historical items require extensive renovations.
“We need to remove completely the scaffolding in order to make the building safe, so in 2021 we will probably start the restoration of the cathedral,” Chauvet told AP. “Once the scaffolding is removed we need to assess the state of the cathedral, the quantity of stones to be removed and replaced.”