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Fire crews at Rochester Cathedral train for major emergency in wake of Notre Dame disaster in Paris

Firefighters are tackling a fire at Rochester Cathedral in a drill simulating a blaze at the historic building.

The exercise tonight is part of training for crews to help be prepared should a major emergency break out at the 11th century landmark in Medway.

A fire drill is taking place at Rochester Cathedral
A fire drill is taking place at Rochester Cathedral

Crews started at 7pm and the operation is due to finish at about 10pm, the cathedral has confirmed.

The response is working to co-ordinate techniques between the fire service and cathedral staff to deal with incidents and prevent similar disasters seen at Notre Dame cathedral in Paris earlier this year.

Residents have been warned to expect disruption on roads surrounding the cathedral grounds and in the town centre during the operation led by the fire service.

Cathedral spokesman Jennifer Ross said: "The exercise is to test the Kent Fire and Rescue Service response to a fire in the cathedral and will involve a large number of staff and appliances.

"At the same time the cathedral will be testing its own procedures and preparedness to deal with such a major emergency."

The cathedral, built in 1080, suffered two fires in its first 100 years in 1137 and 1179.

The site was rebuilt the following year in the Gothic style seen today.

In the wake of the fire at Notre Dame, bosses at Canterbury Cathedral reassured the public the site is "fully prepared" for a similar incident.

The Dean of Rochester, Philip Hesketh, spoke out after the tragedy in Paris in April describing the blaze as "horrific".

For more news on fires in the county, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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