The world watched in stunned disbelief this week, as the Cathedral Notre Dame in Paris caught fire and burned for hours, with hundreds of firefighters bravely fighting back the blaze to save irreplaceable artwork and religious artifacts.
When the flames died down, it appears that the main part of the cathedral remained standing, with many precious pieces of artwork and religious relics spared. Several of France’s richest citizens have already pledged billions of euros toward the immense effort needed to rebuild the 800 year old landmark.
It’s too soon to know what caused the fire, but it possibly was related to remodeling efforts intended to restore the building to its former glory. What had not been well-publicized was how the condition of the much-loved cathedral had deteriorated due to lack of proper maintenance. The building was in terrible disrepair. As a result, when a spark started in the attic, it spread quickly in a structure that was filled with flammable materials and lacking in basic fire prevention and suppression capabilities.
How different might this situation have been if those in charge had taken time to correct deficiencies when they were small, before they created conditions that were ready to turn disastrous with just a spark.
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