Official: Notre Dame faced ‘chain-reaction collapse’ in fire

  • Preserved gargoyles of Notre Dame cathedral are pictured Wednesday, April 17, 2019 in Paris. Notre Dame Cathedral would have been completely burned to the ground in a “chain reaction collapse” had firefighters not moved rapidly in deploying their equipment to battle the blaze racing through the landmark monument, a Paris official said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

  • One of the iconic stained glass windows of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Nearly $1 billion has already poured in from ordinary worshippers and high-powered magnates around the world to restore Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a massive fire. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

  • Firefighters work with a hose at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Donations have poured in for the vast restoration of the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral, but a pledge by French President Emmanuel Macron that it will be completed within five years is facing accusations of being wildly off track.(AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

  • A worker checks on a wooden support structure placed on the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. Nearly $1 billion has already poured in from ordinary worshippers and high-powered magnates around the world to restore Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris after a massive fire. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS — Notre Dame Cathedral would have burned to the ground in a “chain-reaction collapse” had firefighters not moved as rapidly as they did to battle the blaze racing through the beloved landmark building, a French government official said Wednesday.

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