The French Civil Defense force turned down Donald Trump’s suggestion that they use “flying water tankers” to put out the devastating fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Pairs. The Sécurité Civile sent out a series of tweets explaining that they were using all the tools available to them to bring the situation under control but noted that they weren’t employing “water-bombing crafts” because they could worsen the situation.
The agency didn’t mention Trump by name, but their message made it clear that his suggestion wasn’t on the table for controlling the fire. While the force normally sends their messages out in French, this particular one was written in English, suggesting that it was aimed at an American audience.
“Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible
#NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral,” they wrote.
That tweet was followed by others in French that said that the idea was “unsuitable” and could harm nearby buildings.
Earlier in the day, the president had sent out a tweet saying that the city should use flying tankers to put out the blaze.
“So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” Trump tweeted.
Later, Trump mentioned the fire at a rally in Minnesota, according to The Washington Post.
“They don’t know what caused it. They say renovation, and I hope that’s the reason. Renovation? What’s that all about?”
It was shortly after his tweet that the agency responded.
Notre Dame is one of the world’s great treasures, and we’re thinking of the people of France in your time of grief. It’s in our nature to mourn when we see history lost – but it’s also in our nature to rebuild for tomorrow, as strong as we can. pic.twitter.com/SpMEvv1BzB— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 15, 2019
The cathedral fire broke out on Monday causing the iconic spire and roof to collapse. An onlooking crowd watched as the spire tilted and fell into the building as firefighters battled the blaze. By Tuesday morning in France, officials said that the fire had been put under control, which is a feat in itself, given the unique challenges to addressing a fire in a building like Notre Dame.
The large, open spaces give the fire plenty of oxygen to burn, coupled with the wood, paper, and cloth that fills the building, making an extremely combustible situation.
Officials confirmed that many of the artifacts inside were rescued, and the facade and towers survived the burn. French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to restore the cathedral to its glory using a fundraiser.