All day I’ve been imagining the worst for Notre Dame: a gutted shell, structural collapse, destruction that would take decades to repair.
It isn’t as bad as I feared.
It’s still bad. I saw an aerial photo that showed the entire roof of the cathedral glowing in the night like a cross-shaped pit to hell, which primed me to expect the worst. But things that are good:
There have been no fatalities.
The statues on the spire were removed four days ago because of the renovations.
The clergy, military, and Louvre staff were prompt and organized in evacuating other precious items from the cathedral.
The towers were saved.
This tweet shows the interior; if you look at the photo full size, you can see a fair bit of detail. There’s water on the floor, but only one small portion of the ceiling collapsed, and the stonework throughout much of the nave looks basically untouched to me — not scorched or covered in soot, not damaged, not destroyed.
The superstructure is badly hit, I’m sure, and it’s likely that has caused or will cause problems which aren’t immediately visible. Repairs will still take a long time, and who knows how many days will pass before they can allow visitors again. But after a day of imagining things so much worse than this, it’s a relief to know I overshot — that, though wounded, Notre Dame is still standing.