Nantes cathedral clearing operations begin this week, five months after the arson that destroyed the great organ and greatly damaged the building. They will last two months and these are complex jobs.
A gigantic mikado
It is “a gigantic mikado” debris that covers the organ platform, in the words of the Drac, the regional directorate of cultural affairs. Charred pieces of wood from the instrument, pieces of stone from the vault, but also perhaps pieces of stained glass and pieces of sculpture from the organ case, that is to say the joinery that held the pipes.
Small but also very large debris
This mikado, we’ll have to dismantle it piece by piece. This is what is very complicated. Already because it is in height and, then, because there are small but also very large debris to be cleared. For them, it will take a lifting device, so that they can then be placed on the floor of the cathedral. The, everything that has been removed from the organ stand will first be examined by the judicial police, for the investigation, and then sorted. The pieces that are of no interest will be sent to a specialized recycling center and the others will be cleaned up so that they can then be restored.
More than a hundred benches to come out
This is what further complicates the operations: everything inside the cathedral has been contaminated by the lead of the organ pipes which melted. All those involved have therefore full protective gear and before attacking the clearing, it is necessary to clean and remove more than a hundred benches which are in the nave.
Pollution control tests
This operation will also make it possible to prepare the depollution of the entire site. Tests will be carried out on the ground in the nave. It is only after all the debris has been removed that a full cleanup can begin.
Nantes cathedral fire: two months later, time has stood still