PARIS (AP) — Specialists shoring up fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral returned Monday to the Paris site for the first time in nearly a month, this time wearing disposable underwear and other protective gear after a delay prompted by fears of lead contamination.
A new interactive gives a 3D view of the cathedral and the sections affected by the April 2018 blaze. Click the arrows to proceed through the views, or click and drag within the illustration:
Meanwhile, cleanup teams swept, sprayed and vacuumed neighboring streets Monday to scrub away any lead left over from the April blaze that decimated Notre Dame’s roof and toppled its spire. Toxic dust spewed into the air as hundreds of tons of lead melted in the fire.
At the cathedral itself, activity resumed Monday under strict new lead-protection measures for the stonemasons, cleanup workers and scientists working on the monument, according to the Culture Ministry. They include throwaway full-body clothing, obligatory showers and a new decontamination zone to ensure that no one tracks pollution outside the site.
Didier Durand, whose stone-working company Pierrenoel has eight employees working on the cathedral, said he’s eager to get back to work.
“Notre Dame hasn’t been saved yet,” he told broadcaster France-Info. “We haven’t stabilized the buttress structure yet … and we’re losing a lot of time.”
The cathedral, its adjacent park and its forecourt have been closed to the public since April 15 and are likely to stay that way for years. French President Emmanuel Macron has said he wanted Notre Dame rebuilt within five years but reconstruction experts doubt that’s possible.