APR 21, 2019 10:21 AM PDT

Why Old Buildings Like the Notre Dame Cathedral Burn So Easily

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The massive fire that recently impacted the historic Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was all over the news this past week. It was as alarming as it was tragic, but unlike most modern buildings, some would argue that older buildings such as the Notre Dame Cathedral are more fire-prone than others.

As Marrion Fire and Risk Consultant Christopher Marrion explains, historic buildings like the Notre Dame Cathedral are comprised of large amounts of flammable materials – namely wood – that makes up the building’s floors, furnishings, walls, and even the very roof trusses themselves. Historic buildings such as this also tend to acquire old artifacts, including artwork, books, and other flammable materials that go up in flames as quickly as a spark can ignite.

Historic buildings also tend to be built with the construction principles of their time, which results in fewer up-to-code improvements to both prevent and suppress fires. Large buildings, such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, provide unobstructed chambers for air to flow. The lack of firewalls only exacerbates a growing fire, and the rooftop building materials make it challenging for a firefighter’s water to reach the roaring fire inside.

Many of these historic building fires transpire in the middle of reconstruction efforts, and this is because construction workers introduce a plethora of hazards when operating auxiliary lighting and power tools to the site where these combustible materials exist. Even the slightest spark from a sander, grinder, or welder, can be enough to set a building ablaze, and this presents an elevated risk.

Modern buildings are built with advanced materials, which take many of these concerns into consideration; this would explain why older buildings are more fire-prone than their modern counterparts.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
DEC 31, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 31, 2019
Why Does This Star Dim Unpredictably?
KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s Star or the infamous ‘alien megastructure star,’ is peculiar because the star’s light seems to d...
JAN 14, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 14, 2020
How Much Do You Know About Jupiter?
Jupiter, recognized by most as the largest known planet in our solar system, is a particularly interesting place. So interesting, in fact, that NASA sent a...
FEB 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
FEB 28, 2020
Physicists Captured Molecules Forming in Fine Detail
Macroscopically, a chemical reaction is the transformation of molecules, from one form to another. But at the sub-atomic level, where individual atoms take...
MAR 03, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 03, 2020
A Quicker Path to Fusion Power? Australian Scientists Claimed Astonishing Breakthrough
According to a recent press release, a team of scientists at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) developed a new way of nuclear fusion, which can put...
MAR 24, 2020
Space & Astronomy
MAR 24, 2020
How Much Do You Know About the Solar System?
Our solar system is only one out of hundreds of stellar systems residing in the Milky Way galaxy. It’s comprised of the Sun and eight known planets,...
MAR 28, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 28, 2020
The implications of electrifying aluminum are huge
What fun it is to be a scientist! That’s what researchers from The Ohio State University must have been thinking throughout their recent endeavors to...
Loading Comments...