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Workers begin untangling charred metal web on Notre Dame cathedral

Workers suspended from ropes will be lowered into the charred remains of scaffolding that melted atop Notre Dame when the cathedral went up in flames.

PARIS, France — Restoration work has restarted in Paris' fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral after a hiatus linked to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday morning, work began to dismantle scaffolding that was already in place before the April 2019 fire amid previous restoration efforts on the historic structures.

This current phase of work has been deemed highly dangerous because the scaffolding weighs over 200 tons, and is thought to have melted together in areas because of the heat during the blaze.

Two teams of five workers each will take turns descending on ropes into the heat-warped web of scaffolding, made up of 40,000 pieces, and cut with saws through metal tubes that fused together in the inferno. The chunks will then be lifted out by a crane, one by one. 

Credit: AP
Workers are lifted to Notre Dame cathedral, Monday, June 8, 2020 in Paris.

This phase is expected to last three months.

The imposing tower of scaffolding was erected before the blaze for the restoration of Notre Dame's spire that was then toppled and destroyed by the flames.

Credit: AP
Workers are lifted Notre Dame cathedral, Monday, June 8, 2020 in Paris.

Teams have spent months consolidating the structure with metal girders so it can be dismantled without collapsing.

Credit: AP
Workers remove scaffolding at Notre Dame cathedral, Monday, June 8, 2020 in Paris.

President Emmanuel Macron announced a timeline of five years for the conservation works, a figure widely deemed unrealistic.

Credit: AP
Workers start removing the scaffolding at Notre Dame cathedral, Monday, June 8, 2020 in Paris.

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