FILE - In this file photo dated Monday, April 15, 2019, with the Eiffel Tower behind, left, flames and smoke rise from the blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris that destroyed its spire and its roof but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and prompted a frantic rescue effort to save its most precious artefacts. The recent devastating Notre Dame fire in Paris was a warning bell that all of Europe needs to hear, since so many monuments and palaces across the continent are in need of better upkeep according to European officials. “We are so used to our outstanding cultural heritage in Europe that we tend to forget that it needs constant care and attention,” Tibor Navracsics, the European Union’s top culture official, told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Thierry Mallet, FILE)

Notre Dame fire was a warning bell. But will Europe listen?

April 22, 2019 - 2:17 am

PARIS (AP) — Experts say the devastating Notre Dame fire was a warning bell that all of Europe needs to hear since so many monuments and palaces across the continent are in need of better upkeep.

They cite a near-endless list of fires at historical sites in Europe and wonder why officials so often don't learn before it's too late.

Juan Antonio Herraez of Spain's Cultural Heritage institute wants officials to shift their focus to prevention and regular maintenance instead of only reacting to disasters.

The problem is that prevention is practically invisible but grand restorations can be a boon for the politicians cutting the ribbon.

Notre Dame donations now stand at over 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion) — or about three years of France's national restoration budget.

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