On April 15, 2019, we were transfixed by the images of Notre Dame de Paris burning. The magnificent vaulted roof ablaze, the huge billows of smoke and steam rising in a perfect spring evening sky. Then, the awful certainty of the delicate spire crashing like a torch through to the aisle of the cathedral — all of this streamed to our desktops from thousands who watched in the streets and buildings of Paris.
A friend sent video from her window that didn’t even show Notre Dame, just the glow and smoke and the haunting sound of bells tolling. Those who love beauty and craftsmanship, who love Paris, who loves history, who feel an attachment to a place they can never return to are affected powerfully by this story and these images.
What caused the fire and why did it turn catastrophic? The attic and roof trusses were all wood, all quite old, and there was renovation going on — it looks like an electrical short or spark set it off. Here’s a good dissection https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/17/world/europe/notre-dame-cathedral-fire-spread.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
One of the questions asked is why the cathedral didn’t have a fire suppression system. Many other European cathedrals and ancient landmarks are retrofitted with modern fire suppression systems. We can’t answer for their decisions but can say that one of the industries we work with is fire suppression, and they do amazing work.
Detroit Tube Products bends and fabricates a variety of tubular assemblies that enable robust diesel powered systems for all kinds of installations — imagine the complex setup to protect a fuel tank farm at an airport, or a steel mill, or a nursing home. Because we custom-build each order, our customers can buy exactly the configurations needed for each project, even if that means 3 pieces of 8 different part numbers. We also advise customers on how to maximize efficiency by looking for design commonalities. In a time when CAD makes design “easy,” and engineers move to different desks (and companies) more often, we can serve as an additional memory layer with our ability to search previous parts and connections and suggest components that are already programmed and tooled.
There are a lot of historic buildings and landmarks in the United States as well. This tragic fire should serve as a warning to our country’s caretakers. So if you make equipment to pump water in an emergency, thanks for making things safer! And, if you need a partner in fabricating the tubes to fit in those tight spaces the architects left for fire suppression or pumping equipment, give us a call.