A former chief architect and general inspector of French historical monuments has cast doubts on the official narrative that the Notre Dame fire was likely an electrical short that set the iconic cathedral ablaze.
Benjamin Mouton, who served as Chief Architect of Historic Monuments in France and oversaw restoration work of Notre Dame until 2013, says that it is highly unlikely an electrical short circuit took place, and that it would take an extraordinary effort to ignite the ancient oak of the cathedral.
“So, you’re telling us that this type of timber doesn’t burn like that?” Mouton was asked by an LCI host.
“Oak that is 800-years-old is very hard – try to burn it,” Mouton said. “Old oak, it is not easy at all. You would need a lot of kindling to succeed… It stupefies me.”
Asked to present an explanation for how the blaze spread so quickly and with such strength, Mouton asserted that there were no additional precautions that could have been taken to ensure such a “quick” incineration could be prevented.
“In the Nineties, we updated all the electrical wiring of Notre Dame,” Mouton said. “So there is no possibility of a short circuit. We updated to conform with the contemporary norms, even going very far – all the detection and protection systems against fire in the cathedral.”
Mouton also revealed that there are two watchmen on duty around the clock who monitor for any chance of fire, adding that the technical and security measures taken to protect monuments like Notre Dame are unprecedented.
More than a billion euros have been pledged to restore Notre Dame, which President Emmanuel Macron claims will be executed within five years.
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