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Gregg Favre
After my last tweet, I got a couple DMs asking firefighting related questions about the . I -like most of you- are watching from a world away. But if you’re interested in some profession specific things I’d note/be concerned of, you can follow this thread.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
The first issue is how old churches are built - heavy timber construction with large open spaces and very few (if any in a church like ) fire stops. A firestop is a passive fire protection system made up of various components and used to seal openings in buildings.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
If the fire started high on the structure, there is a chance that Paris Fire can save the walls and unimpinged areas of the Cathedral. But the roof has basically been surrendered at this point. The peak, the lack of access and fire spread means almost certain loss.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
In firefighting there is something called a "trenchcut" that basically opens a large roof up from peak to gutter, allowing space to stop fire spread. Given the peak of the roof and advanced fire conditions, this is an unlikely option in the main area of the building.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Even if arial waterways (think hook and ladders with prepiped hoses) could reach the roofline, it is difficult to see how they would get an angle that would get water on the fire - its just too high. So this means you have to put firefighters inside...
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Inside is a whole other problem. The primary option is large 2.5" fire hoses. These are heavy, difficult to maneuver and against a fire like this, largely ineffective.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
This option also means placing responders on the inside as the roof is falling down around them. And we aren't talking shingles. This is heavy timber construction. Often 12"x12" in old churches, perhaps bigger in a this old.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Another concern is accountability. Life safety is always the first priority, even in historic landmarks. was undergoing a renovation. This means that there were more people there than normal. Is the staff all out? The construction workers? Visitors?
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
If unaccounted for, where were they and how many? What does a rescue task force look like? How many responders do you place in additional harms way for unconfirmed reports? I don't have these answers at a distance, but the responders on scene are asking them and forming plans.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
And lets pause to remember how fires actually burn. You need oxygen, fuel, heat and a chemical chain reaction. If you take any one of these away (cool material, remove fuel or oxygen, or interrupt the CCR) the fire will go out.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Removing the fuel is a no go. Churches have no shortage of things to burn. The heat that a fire this size is putting off is tremendous. Little options for interrupting that. The chemical chain reaction is off to the races. That horse left the stable in the first five minutes.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
That leaves the oxygen. Unfortunately, even if the roof had not burnt off, churches are nearly impossible to control ventilation in. Their design is to be open and airy. Great for Sunday worship, terrible for managing fire spread.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Finally, I'd be worried about construction materials not usually found in churches (since it was under renovation). Things that can explode, things that don't like being hit with water, Hazardous materials that can run off / go airborne, etc.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Finally - especially this deep in to the fire - you have to be thinking about collapse of some or all of the structure. The steeple and roof have to GO somewhere and its no guarantee that its straight down.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
The walls of are stout, but if weakened by fire and roofing timbers could come down. Are the streets in the collapse zone cleared? Of both onlookers and responder/trucks? Any other buildings threatened? If a wall of fire comes down what the plan to fight THAT fire?
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
My gut (and experience) tells me that best case scenario her is something similar to Orthodox Cathedral of St. Sava Fire in NYC. At least for the main part of that has been affected by fire.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Should be noted that while St. Sava is huge in its own right, it is dwarfed buy . Depending on how hoses are placed, current wind conditions, responder access and water supply, damage could be significantly more, or less (- helpful I know...)
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @PompiersParis @IAFC
One thing that has in its favor - are world class firefighters. I saw their work when I served on a board for the & they have as strong, dedicated and skilled responders as you'd find anywhere in the world. And my thoughts are w/ them all today.
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Gregg Favre 15 Apr 19
Replying to @GreggFavre
Finally, as a firefighter, as a Catholic and as a human this fire is heartbreaking. is a beacon of both faith and the human spirit. I wish all on scene a safe evening and comfort in knowing their best effort was applied. Thanks for following along.
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