Work starts to remove melted Notre-Dame scaffolding

The delicate work of removing melted scaffolding from Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris has got under way.

When the fire broke out in April of last year, there was already work in progress on the roof of the cathedral, with a big structure of scaffolding in place around the spire, BBC Paris Correspondent Hugh Schofield reports.

While the spire did not survive – it crashed down at the height of the conflagration – the scaffolding did. In fact in the intense heat, a lot of it melted and became attached to the building, like a great metal parasite.

Now begins the exceedingly delicate operation of cutting away this metal, all 20 tons of it. The damaged scaffolding has been surrounded with yet more scaffolding, and an enormous crane has been brought in.

Teams hanging from ropes 40 to 50 metres (130-164ft) in the air will be using electric saws to carve away the encrusted material piece by piece.

The building is still not entirely out of danger and only when this operation is finished in three or four months’ time can they start thinking about the real response to the disaster: reconstruction and maybe redesign.

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