Parish Magazine

From Dean of Chichester Cathedral re Notre Dame Fire

Notre Dame Fire
From the Dean of Chichester, The Very Reverend Stephen Waine

“Our thoughts are with our brothers and sisters in Paris who have suffered a catastrophic fire. To see such extensive damage to a church which has witnessed to the Easter faith for over 850 years and is a cultural and historical landmark recognised throughout the world is shocking. The determination of those who have promised that the Cathedral will be restored is inspiring and we will hold the clergy and people of Notre Dame in our prayers.”

Fire Precautions at Chichester Cathedral

Although the cause of the fire, as yet, is not known, concerns have been raised in the media about fire risk. For us here in Chichester, undertaking similar restoration work, those questions may be particularly profound.

There are no flame-based works at roof level at Chichester and any works that have the potential to result in a source of ignition such as welding or soldering, are carried out at ground level or away from the roof.  Where any grinding is necessary, a ‘hot works permit’ scheme ensures works are carried out with localised extinguishers and are completed by 12:00 so that the area can be monitored until the end of each day, then checked again.

There is no smoking, flammable equipment or fluids on the scaffold or roof, and staff are trained in the use of the numerous fire extinguishers. The scaffolding is entirely metal (and therefore not flammable) and is wrapped in a fire-resistant material.

We have an up to date fire alarm and detection system linked to the Fire Service, with whom we have regular drills to ensure crews are familiar with our building to enable efficient access in case of fire or emergency. The roof spaces have thorough fire compartmentation, with detection in each separate space, designed to limit and contain fire spread.

Pause, Reflect and Remember

In the Cathedral, a number of Chapels, in particular the Lady Chapel, are available for private prayer for those who wish to pause, reflect and remember the people of Paris. Requests for prayer may be left at the Shrine of St Richard. If you wish to light a votive candle there are opportunities to do so at various points around the Cathedral.