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Plan to Save Notre Dame Relics 'Worked Perfectly'

Paris to hold ceremony to honor firefighters
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2019 5:32 AM CDT
Updated Apr 18, 2019 6:33 AM CDT
An image made available by Gigarama.ru on Wednesday April 17, 2019 shows an aerial shot of the fire damage to Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Tuesday April 16.   (Gigarama.ru via AP)
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(Newser) – Insurance adjuster Michael Honore has been tasked with assessing fire damage to Notre Dame's treasures—and his workload would be a lot bigger if the evacuation plan had failed. Honore, the director of fine art at Sedgwick, tells Reuters that around 90% of the cathedral's treasures were saved because the plan was executed flawlessly, with artworks and relics taken out in order of priority, starting with the crown of thorns thought to have been worn by Jesus Christ. The plan "was adhered to the letter and that is why the contents lost is not as severe as might have been feared," he says. Honore says most of the large paintings in the cathedral "seem to be OK" but they will have to be closely inspected by restorers, as will the cathedral's famous main organ, which appears to have survived unscathed.

The rescued treasures, which were taken out by a human chain of emergency workers, are now at city hall in Paris and will likely be moved to the Louvre while the cathedral is restored. France's culture ministry says the "battered but apparently restorable" statue of a rooster that sat atop Notre Dame's spire was recovered from rubble Tuesday, though it's not clear whether the holy relics inside it also survived, AFP reports. Paris fire brigade chaplain Jean-Marc Fournier, who personally helped save the crown of thorns, will be honored along with hundreds of other firefighters at a Paris city hall ceremony Thursday, the Guardian reports. The ceremony, part of a day of tributes to the firefighters who saved one of Europe's most cherished buildings, will feature a concert and readings from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. (Read more Notre Dame Cathedral stories.)

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