Saving Notre Dame 2021 Art Scientists and engineers fight to save Notre Dame Cathedral after the 2019 fire. When the roof of Notre Dame Cathedral erupted in flames in April of 2019, firefighters battled for nine gruelling hours to save the historic landmark. Still, Paris came alarmingly close to losing more than 800 years of history. Now engineers are in a different race against time: to rebuild the roof and secure the medieval structure of Notre Dame. Underneath the charred scaffolding and vaulted ceilings of the cathedral, scientists study the components of Notre Dame’s iconic structure to puzzle out how best to repair it.