Fire at Notre Dame Has Some Sacramentans Thinking of Local Historic Landmarks

SACRAMENTO -- The fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has many examining historical buildings in Sacramento.

While none of the city's buildings is nearly as old as the Notre Dame, some still date back to the 19th century.

"It's horrible, it's one of them things that you can not replace," Thomas Hedge told FOX40.

Hedge and his wife, Karen, were visiting from Ohio to take their grandson Calvin in from Woodland to see Sutter's Fort in midtown Tuesday.

"They can rebuild it if they can, but it’ll never ever, ever be the same," Karen Hedge said.

They say, after the fire in Paris, they have a newfound appreciation for the historic sites in Sacramento.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation strives to make sure that doesn't happen.

"Maybe there’s a misconception out there that somehow historic buildings don’t have to live up to the same standards that any other building would. That’s not the case," Capitol District Superintendent John Fraser said.

The Stanford Mansion and the Governor's Mansion are both up to code.

At Sutter's Fort, where docents cook over an open flame in an outdoor oven, there's still some risk -- but the state recently installed a new fire alarm system and volunteers have access to fire extinguishers.

There are no sprinklers at Sutter's Fort but sprinklers are actually not designed to stop fire, they’re designed to save lives. Even if there were some sprinklers at Sutter's Fort, if there was a fire, it wouldn’t necessarily save the structure.

One of the oldest churches in Sacramento, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, was built between 1886 and 1889.

Parish manager Tom Waddock says the building's fire sprinklers are on a very early smoke detection, or VESDA, system -- one of the most advanced systems on the market. In fact, the sensors even went off when smoke from the Camp Fire, burning nearly 90 miles away, drifted into Sacramento. No water was released then.

The system is compartmentalized so if smoke is in one area of the church, sprinklers won't go off in other areas where wall art could be ruined.

"So you don’t have the full church being flooded if there’s a fire back, say, in one of the chapels at the back of the church," Waddock said.

As for the Hedges, they hope the historic Sacramento landmarks stand well past when their grandson is their age.

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