Notre Dame Almost Did Collapse

Back in April the famed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris caught fire and its roof and spire spectacularly collapsed. At the time I looked at a few different pieces, including two from the New York Times, that explored the spread of the fire. Several months later the Times has just published a look into how the firefighters saved the cathedral from collapse.

The graphics are the same amazing illustrated models from before. Now with routes taken by firefighters and coloured areas indicating key equipment used in the fight to preserve what could be saved. But the real gem in the article are a series of graphics from the firefighters themselves.

Some pretty hot sketches here
Some pretty hot sketches here

Naturally the annotations are all in French. But this French firefighter and sketch artist detailed the progress of the battle during and in the days after the fire. It makes me wish I could read French to understand the five selected sketches the Times chose to use. And I love this line from the Times.

For all the high-tech gear available to big-city fire departments, investigators still see value in old-school tools.

If you are interested in the story of how the cathedral was saved, read the lengthy article. If you just want to see some really amazing and yet wholly practical sketches, scroll through the article until you get to these gems.

Credit for the overall piece goes to Elian Peltier, James Glanz, Mika Gröndahl, Weiyi Cai, Adam Nossiter, and Liz Alderman.

Credit for the sketches goes to Laurent Clerjeau.

The Fire at Notre Dame Cathedral

This was not what I was going to write about today, but the news of the fire that ravaged Notre Dame yesterday rightly dominated the news yesterday and this morning. However, while I found multiple articles dealing with photographic evidence of the damage, I did not see many that detailed the fire from an illustrative or diagrammatic standpoint.

Thankfully, the New York Times did just that. They posted an article that deals specifically with the fire. It includes this set of small multiples that shows the progression along the roof and spire.

Unfortunately wood burns quickly
Unfortunately wood burns quickly

The article also includes a nice diagram explaining how the fire was focused on the cathedral’s attic. That explains some of the imagery from this morning that shows combustible materials like the pews and pulpit on the stone floor fully intact. And that provides hope the overall building can be saved, as French officials are indicating today.

Credit for the piece goes to Larry Buchanan, Weiyi Cai, James Glanz, Evan Grothjan, Allison Mccann, Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Karthik Patanjali, Jugal K. Patel, Scott Reinhard, Bedel Saget, Anjali Singhvi, and Jeremy White.

The Franco–Belgian Terror Network

The terror attacks in Paris and Brussels were bad. But even worse? The two attacks exposed a network of IS terrorists living within the Schengen Area. Are there cells or even other networks? One way of uncovering them would be to examine the links between the known terrorists and see if additional nodes appear at the network’s fringes. Given Friday’s piece from the New York times examining the links between the known terrorists, investigators in Europe are likely doing just that.

Looking at the terrorists' network
Looking at the terrorists’ network

Credit for the piece goes to Larry Buchanan, Haeyoun Park, Sarah Almukhtar, Josh Keller, Sergio Peçanha, and Tim Wallace.

Friday Night in Paris

So Paris happened. But the question is how exactly? Thankfully the New York Times are on it as they try to explain Friday night.

A diagram of the events inside Bataclan theatre
A diagram of the events inside Bataclan theatre

Worth pointing out the list of credits below. Clearly the piece was a team effort.

Credit for the piece goes to Gregor Aisch, Wilson Andrews, Larry Buchanan, Jennifer Daniel, Ford Fessenden, Evan Grothjan, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Haeyoun Park, Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Graham Roberts, Julie Shaver, Patrick J. Smith, Tim Wallace, Derek Watkins, Jeremy White, and Karen Yourish.