ParisDailyPhoto :: Eric Tenin :: 12 sept 2009
Journalist Eric Tenin is one of those people who not only take beautiful pictures, but also have the heart to share them online, in a charming one-a-day format. Today, he showed us a picture of a fire at La Taverne, a restaurant in the 9th arrondissement. It was not the only fire he had seen last weekend, having witnessed one at the Freemasonry headquarters of the Grand Orient de France, which is located right by his house on rue Cadet in the same district. Perhaps in a wave of concern, he looked up the statistics on fires in Paris too. The results, as he must have noticed, were quite remarkable.
With a little bit of calculating, we can see that in 2008 there were 4,260 fires in Paris. That is 82 a week, with his arrondissement, the 9th, accounting for 3 of them. That’s 3 fires a week! Now if you think that sounds like a lot, then you are right. A quick glance at the map below could, alarmingly enough, also remind you that the 9th (which houses the Opera Garnier and the Grands Magasins) is not very big either. A few calculations further down the line, looking at number of fires per Parisian square metre, we notice that his arrondissement comes as second worst hit, after his southern neighbour the 2nd district (the textile industry HQ the Sentier).
Before we all start urging Eric to get out of there as fast as possible, let us look at population density as well. Naturally, the population density of the city varies, as urban space is not only housing, think of the space taken up by schools, churches, hospitals, cemeteries, parks, shops and ministries. The resident density of the 9th (27,100 per km2) classifies as just over average by Parisian standards. So if we take the number of fires per inhabitant, the rate drops to a little over the city’s average.
Should he one day wish to reduce his chance of having another fire next door, he would have to consider a move to the left bank. Curiously enough, the southern arrondissements, although slightly denser, have considerably less fires per person than the right bank (2.9 fires a week per 100 000 inhabitants as opposed to the 4.1 fires a week on the right bank). But Eric’s beautiful picture actually does not show the fire. He shows the smoke and the Parisian firemen. They not only belong to the biggest fire department in Europe, but they also offer an impeccable urban coverage. And thanks to them, another fire was extinguished without anyone getting hurt.