Joan Pastor, technical director and head of security at Palma Cathedral, says that an accidental fire like that at Notre Dame cannot be totally avoided but stresses that risks and damage can be minimised.
The Cathedral, unlike Notre Dame, is all stone. The areas which would be most affected by fire are the offices and the archive. There is special monitoring of these areas and also an automated fire detection system for the whole of the Cathedral.
Pastor explains that the Cathedral has a wide-ranging security procedure that takes account of worst cases - fires, terrorist attack, bombs. Some eighteen months ago a new security plan was introduced. Employees were given training in extinguishing fires and a revised protocol was adopted for rapid evacuation; there are now also more extinguishers. "Saving lives" is the priority, followed by the maximum efforts to tackle any fire and to limit destruction to as little as possible.
Evacuation procedures are aided by there being three large gates, which would act as the exits in the event of an emergency. Cathedral personnel and the emergency services would direct people to the Parc de la Mar, while the Palau Reial entrance would be cleared for emergency vehicles and crews. In light of events in Paris, Pastor says that there will a further review of procedures.
The last fire at the Cathedral was in 1913 in the San Bernat Chapel. This occurred when the architect Antoni Gaudí was engaged in work at the Cathedral. Altarpieces were affected on that occasion and there was no damage to the structure.