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Notre Dame fire: cathedral’s age, timber structure likely made fighting the blaze tougher

The Notre Dame cathedral fire broke out early Monday evening and consumed parts of the historic building in Paris and left one firefighter seriously injured. Here's what we know so far about the devastating blaze.

Is there anything firefighters could have done to control the blaze that tore through Paris’ historic Notre Dame Cathedral sooner?

Experts say the combination of a structure that’s more than 850 years old, built with heavy timber construction and soaring open spaces, and lacking sophisticated fire-protection systems left firefighters with devastatingly few options Monday once the flames got out of control.

WATCH: Notre Dame fire — Cathedral archpriest, Paris mayor, residents and tourists react to blaze

Notre Dame fire: Cathedral archpriest, Paris mayor, residents and tourists react to blaze
Notre Dame fire: Cathedral archpriest, Paris mayor, residents and tourists react to blaze

U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant says that with a building like Notre Dame, it’s nearly impossible for firefighters to attack a blaze from within.

Bryant says they instead have to be more defensive “and try to control the fire from the exterior.”

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READ MORE: Notre Dame fire brings ‘shock and sadness’ from Pope Francis, Trump and many more around the world

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Authorities say that the cathedral’s structure, including its landmark rectangular towers, has been saved.

But its spire collapsed.

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