WORCESTER Cathedral and the fire service have reassured residents that detailed protocol is in place should a Notre-Dame-style blaze break out – though admit lessons will be learned.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service has expressed its respect for the Paris firefighters who worked for hours to extinguish the fire on Monday and Tuesday.

Chief fire officer Nathan Travis said operational response and salvage plans are in place for the Hereford and Worcester cathedrals, as well as other historic buildings.

“HWFRS have well developed operational response and salvage plans in place that we exercise in partnership with the in-house teams responsible for those buildings and their overall fire safety,” he said.

Worcester Cathedral is home to numerous valuable treasures, many of which are housed in the medieval library, and a spokesman said there is a “robust fire safety and evacuation procedure” including “crisis management”.

“The cathedral has a good relationship with the fire service who meet with the Cathedral staff and offer advice and training on our procedures,” the spokesman continued.

“There are always lessons to be learnt and when disaster struck York Minster some years ago, learning and advice later came out.

“Protocols and legislation for English cathedrals was changed to safeguard against dangers, such as the build-up of gases to prevent combustive forces, and to help water escape that is used to douse a fire.

“We fully expect there will be lessons coming out of the Notre Dame fire that English cathedrals will want to understand.”

Mr Travis went on to say: “Local fire crews visit these buildings regularly to ensure that in the event of a fire they are familiar with the access routes, layout and available water supplies, and treat these buildings as ‘high priority’ in our risk based intelligence programme.

“Local fire crews will also regularly exercise and train in and around our cathedrals, as these buildings are not only large in size and challenging to deal with in the event of a fire, but in areas the public do not often access they also have inside them very complex layouts with limited ways of getting in and out."

He said that the fire service offers advice on alarm systems, extinguishing equipment and escape routes, while the buildings are regularly reviewed and upgraded. He added fires tend to occur during renovations in historic buildings.