As Notre-Dame in Paris burned, US President Donald Trump tweeted some advice to French firefighters.
“Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
But doing that would have brought the ancient cathedral crashing down, French fire chiefs told AFP Tuesday.
“Everything would have collapsed,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Bernier, a fire chief who speaks for the national civil defence organisation and who described the suggestion as “risible”.
Releasing even one load from a Canadair water bomber used to fight forest fires on Notre-Dame would be “the equivalent of dropping three tonnes of concrete at 250 kilometres per hour (155mph)” on the ancient monument.
“It would have been like bowling with the cathedral… the two towers might have fallen.
“It was technically impossible, undoable and most of all would have been utterly useless” to douse the flames from the air, Bernier added.
In fact, dropping a 6,300-litre (1,664-gallon) load from a Canadair water bomber would have put the lives of firefighters and anyone in the area at risk, he added.
“Neighbouring buildings would have been hit by flying blocks of hot stone, and the whole area would have had to be evacuated.”
– ‘Might have tumbled’ –
With more than 500 firefighters already at the scene — many within the building — that would have been impossible.
Even using a helicopter to drop 1,500 litres of water would have left only the towers standing, Bernier insisted.
“The nave would have collapsed, the flying buttresses would have gone,” he said.
“If a plane had been used the whole of the structure might have tumbled.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Gabriel Plus of the Paris fire brigade said that “everything was against” the first firefighters who had to battle the French capital’s evening rush-hour to get to the scene on Monday.
“Time and the wind was against us and we had to get on top of it fast. We had to make a rapid choice… and the priority we gave ourselves was to save the two bell towers, and both were saved,” he added.
“Imagine if the woodwork in the belfries had been weakened, the huge bells would have collapsed” and that might have brought the towers down.
“That was really our fear,” said the senior officer, who acts as the fire brigade spokesman.
“From the beginning, there was always the possibility that the whole structure might collapse.”
While armchair critics have suggested more could have been done to slow the fire, tough choices had to be made, said Plus.
“With a part of the roof already in flames it was no longer saveable,” he said.
– Robot helps save nave –
“So we put our efforts into protecting the two belfries and getting our people into the interior to save the works of art inside.
“Once we saw that the spire would fall we got our people out and concentrated our efforts on the exterior,” he added.
Plus said a robot was sent into the building after the firefighters were evacuated to hose the interior of the building to “lower the temperature of the nave”.
Experts credited this with helping save the cathedral’s organ and its spectacular rose windows from the worst of the flames.
The fire chief said the next few days will be spent making sure the fire has been well and truly extinguished and that “the structure is stabilised”.
“We have teams with laser equipment who are checking the structure for movement. They will be checking the whole of Notre-Dame — from the towers and the vaulted ceiling to the walls to assess their fragility.”
Confused Trump can’t stop talking about the new military ‘hydrosonic’ toothbrush missile
President Donald Trump spent some of his time at his Ohio rally Saturday, saying that under his leadership, the military has developed a secret hydrosonic missile.
There's just one problem: Hydrosonic is a toothbrush.
The Hydrosonic Pro is a Curaprox product that boasts "ultra-fine, gentle CUREN® filaments."Hypersonic missiles are weapons that can travel at 17 times the speed of sound and Navy warships will be outfitted with them. Trump also seems confused about the facts, saying that the missile travels at five times the speed of normal missiles.
Trump teases he may not have a peaceful transfer of power if he loses
President Donald Trump was aghast when he was asked in the presidential debates if he would agree to a peaceful transfer of power.
The moment in the debate came when he dodged the question for weeks, refusing to agree to the long-standing tradition of presidents handing over the reins to the next leader.
"Well, we'll have to see what happens," Trump told reporters during a White House news conference. "You know that."
After weeks of bad press about it, Trump said he would agree to it.
"They spied heavily on my campaign and they tried to take down a duly elected sitting president, and then they talk about 'will you accept a peaceful transfer?' And the answer is, yes, I will, but I want it to be an honest election and so does everybody else," Trump said, adding, "When I see thousands of ballots dumped in a garbage can and they happen to have my name on it, I'm not happy about it."
‘Jarring’: PA Trump fans attack polls making so much noise poll workers couldn’t read instructions to voters
One Pennsylvania polling place fell under a full out attack on those standing in line to vote and trying to cast a ballot on Saturday.
In a Twitter thread, Behavioral Economist Alex Imas explained that while he was casting his ballot on the outskirts of Philadelphia County, PA Saturday, a parade of semis and other cars surrounded the polling place, laying on their horns.
"I arrived just as polling place opened. Short line. Thought I'd be in and out in 20 minutes tops. Even w/ this short line, it took 2+ hours," he explained.
"Then the next Semi followed, then the 3rd," he continued. "A motorcade of semis, jeeps, and a few sedans drove down the road. All honking. All flying Trump 2020 flags. With people yelling out the window. This motorcade snaked around the polling place the entire time I was there (2 hrs)."