June 11, 2020 By Joseph P. Farrell

Over a year ago in April 2019, most of us watched in horror as the iconic Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris burned. There were "oddities" about the story that quickly began to be discussed, which then disappeared almost as quickly as they appeared, when the "plans" for "restoring" the cathedral were announced. Some of them were - to put it mildly - garish in the extreme. There was one for turning the structure into some sort of New Agey greenhouse and a bunch of other, similar nonsense. It was as if the wackier elements of the French revolution were back in force, quietly cheering the cathedral's destruction, and wanting to turn it into a "temple of Reason" once again.

Fortunately, the people of France nixed any restoration work that did not have as its aim the restoration of the cathedral as it was.

Now, however, there is a story out there that has me wondering all over again, for before the restoration work can begin, all that scaffolding around the building that was melted has to be removed:

Workers start to remove charred scaffolding around Notre-Dame Cathedral

But there's an aspect of this story that has my high octane speculation motor running in overdrive, and my suspicion meter in the red zone, and it's this:

Dismantling of Charred Scaffolding at Notre-Dame Starts

Now note what this short article says:

French media reported that delicate job of dismantling the 200-300 tonnes of steel that melted atop Notre-Dame when the cathedral went up in flames has begun. Two teams of five workers each will take turns descending on ropes into the heat-warped web of scaffolding, made up of 40,000 pieces, and use saws to cut through metal tubes that fused together in the inferno. The chunks will then be lifted out by a crane. (Emphasis added)

Steel scaffolding. Melted steel scaffolding.

Now you can color me skeptical, because a quick search on the melting temperatures of various steels reveals that carbon steels melt around 2500-2800 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1371-1540 degrees Celsius, and stainless steel around 2750 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1510 degrees Celsius. (See Melting Points)

This means, simply, that the fire that destroyed the roof and spire of the cathedral, while leaving much of the interior damaged but only partially burned, was a very odd fire, to say the least, besides being hot enough to melt some of the steel scaffolding.

I'm certain that given the burning out of the windows and other areas of the structure, that there were materials that could, indeed, have burned and created such an intense heat. I'm even going so far as to admit that there may have been very unusual properties of the fire itself, given the size of the structure, and that there may have been "hot spots" and "cool spots."

Yet part of me, like M.C. who shared the initial article and concern, has the suspicion that something here is not adding up. And it's not adding up for the same basic reasons that the 9/11 narrative of the collapse of the Twin Towers doesn't add up: airplane fuel does not burn hotly enough to melt the central steel core of the buildings, and the black smoke we saw on 9/11 means an oxygen-poor, and cool, fire.

And there's something else that has me questioning, and it's because I'm an organist (or rather, play at being one):

So according to the NY Times, the organ suffered only minor damage. Again, this has me scratching my head. How can this be? Pipes in pipe organs are made from a variety of materials. There are wooden pipes, and metal pipes, most of the latter being made of alloys of lead and tin. Note that the melting points of lead and tin are, respectively, a very cool 621 Fahrenheit, 328 Celsius, and 449 Fahrenheit and 232 Celsius, respectively. (See again). The organ, in its turn would have been located at the back of the church (i.e., toward the entrance) in the organ loft of the nave. In short, it would have been located near some of the hottest burning places in the fire. Yet most of the damage described in the article is dust. We hear nothing of burned wooden pipes or melted puddles of the metal ones, and given its location at some height above the ground, one would think it would have been nearer a hot spot than a cool one.

So, yes, you can count me in the "still skeptical" crowd that this was all just a tragic accident, especially given the iconic nature of the structure, and how some wanted to "restore" it after the fire.

See you on the flip side...