French officials on Monday night rejected President Trump’s calls to use flying water tankers to extinguish the fire raging at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, saying the weight of the water could cause the entire structure to collapse.
Trump on Monday called the blaze engulfing the medieval cathedral “horrible” and suggested the deployment of flying water tankers.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump tweeted.
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
Following Trump’s tweet, the French civil protection service noted that the one thing it was not contemplating was using aerial tankers, which dump enormously heavy loads of water, usually on wildfires.
“Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control,” the civil protection service said in a statement.
“All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircraft which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.”
Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.
— Sécurité Civile Fr (@SecCivileFrance) April 15, 2019
Later, while in Minnesota for a speech on the economy, Trump called the fire “one of the true catastrophes” and said “the television images he’d watched during his flight were “a terrible sight to behold.”
— World Events Live (@IdeologyWars) April 15, 2019
“I’ve been in communication with France,” Trump told reporters on Monday. “They’re having a terrible, terrible fire that you probably saw — some of you have heard, some of you have not because you’ve been here — but I will tell you the fire they’re having at the Notre Dame cathedral is something like few people have witnessed. When we left, we had a whole group of your great representatives, and when we left [Air Force One] it was burning at a level that you rarely see a fire burn.”
It is one of the great treasures of the world, the greatest arts in the world. If you think about it, it might be greater than almost any museum in the world and it is burning very badly. It looks like it is burning to the ground. So, so, that puts a damper on what we’re about to say, to be honest, because that is beyond countries, it is beyond anything. That is part of our growing up, it is a part of our culture, it is part of our lives. That is a truly great cathedral, and I’ve been there, and I’ve seen it, and there is no cathedral, I think, like it. It is a terrible scene.
And they think it was caused by — at this moment, they don’t know. But they think it was caused by renovation, and I hope that’s the reason. Renovation, what’s that all about?
It is a terrible sight to behold.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately known, but the cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work.
The iconic spire at the top of the Gothic cathedral collapsed about an hour after the fire broke out Monday. Video showed part of the roof of the cathedral collapsing into itself as the fire rages on.
“Everything is burning, nothing will remain from the frame,” Notre Dame spokesperson Andre Finot told French media, according to the Associated Press. Emergency services were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.
The deputy mayor of Paris, Emmanuel Gregoire, said the cathedral had suffered “colossal damages”, and the emergency services were trying to salvage the art and other priceless pieces stored in the cathedral.
Instaurer un périmètre de sécurité, évacuer les riverains, combattre sans relâche les flammes… Les forces de #secours & de #sécurité sont mobilisées depuis plus de 3h et utilisent tous les moyens à leur disposition pr lutter contre l'incendie #NotreDame #Paris #HérosduQuotidien pic.twitter.com/TsD1QfdC0V
— Ministère de l'Intérieur (@Place_Beauvau) April 15, 2019