U.K. Parliament & Other Landmarks May Be At Risk Of Notre Dame-Type Fire

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The fire this week at the Cathedral of Notre Dame has caused British MPs to warn of the possible peril for some of their own historical buildings and to discuss what they can do proactively to spare their country the devastation caused by a fire in a building with a wooden frame.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is raising the alarm to indicate that the U.K. should take the fire at the Cathedral of Notre Dame as a cautionary tale of what could happen in that country, says Town & Country. The Palace of Westminster, the home of parliament, is his chief concern.

“You see beautiful buildings like [Notre-Dame] and think of the beautiful buildings we’ve got in this country. If any of those were destroyed in fire how would we feel about it? The state of the building is very poor in Westminster and a fire risk is obviously huge with a building that has so much wood within it.”

A vote last year by MPs decided that in 2020 they would move out of the building to make way for much-needed renovations, but with the fire in Paris, some are now saying that another year might be too long for a building, which has already had its share of fires (40 between 2008 and 2012).

Parliament is constantly patrolled by a fire crew with the idea that if a fire is spotted early, it can be put out before a tragedy occurs.

Cabinet Office minister David Lidington wrote a column this week where he documented the ways in which the building is crumbling, including the fact that “chunks of masonry” have fallen off the building. He continues by saying that all of the building’s systems are way past their prime.

“Worse, the electrical, plumbing, heating and sewage systems are well beyond their expected working life span and in a dilapidated state. With each year that passes, the risk of a catastrophic fire grows.”

Westminster Abbey’s Twitter account shared that people are asking if what happened at the Cathedral of Notre Dame could happen there. The response was that they have a plan in place if such a tragedy struck.

The Guardian quoted House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom in saying that the fire in Paris is a warning to all that the care and preservation of historical buildings should be a concern of everyone, and primarily of government.

A parliamentary spokesman said that it’s important to learn the lessons that emerged from the Notre Dame fire and have fire safety be a priority.