Major fire ravages Glasgow School of Arts

Glasgow’s world-renowned School of Art has been gutted by another huge blaze, four years after part of the building was destroyed by fire.

Flames ripped through the celebrated Mackintosh building after it caught fire at around 23:20 BST on Friday. The blaze has spread to nearby buildings, including the Campus nightclub and O2 ABC music venue, which suffered “extensive damage”. No casualties have been reported, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said. Efforts to bring the fires under control are expected to be “prolonged”, Deputy Chief Officer Iain Bushell said. More than 120 firefighters have been sent to the scene and are faced with “an extremely challenging and complex incident”, he added. Scottish Fire and Rescue Service deputy assistant Peter Heath said “pockets of fire” remain, but were under control. He said the School of Art building had been “extensively damaged” and that all floors were affected. “We remain firefighting in what is a very challenging situation,” he added. Inspector Catherine McNally, of Police Scotland, praised the response of both the public and nearby licensed premises which were asked to evacuate. The Mackintosh building was badly damaged by fire in May 2014 and was due to re-open next year following a £20 -35m restoration project. Ben, an eyewitness, told the BBC the latest fire looked “much worse” than the previous one. “This is a blaze, the building is just going up like a tinderbox. It’s quite shocking,” he said. Connor Neil, 22, said people were being evacuated from their homes and there was a “big orange light” which could be seen from streets away. Police Scotland said a high-volume water pump from the River Clyde had been put in place, resulting in closures on Broomielaw, Brown Street, Argyle Street, Douglas Street and Dalhousie Street. Roads around Sauchiehall Street also remain closed.
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Fire fighters battle a blaze at the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art for the second time in four years
The building was undergoing restoration works after the previous fire in 2014
Crowds look on as firefighters tackle the blaze
Large crowds gathered and looked on as firefighters tackled the blaze
A photo of the fire
The fire could be seen throughout Glasgow city centre
Presentational white space
Glasgow North East MP Paul Sweeney described the building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, as “the most architecturally important building in Glasgow”. The Labour politician said the restoration effort had suffered a “horrific setback” which he hoped would be overcome. “We cannot lose this building,” he added. Mr Sweeney went on to say: “The 1909 library extension, that was the origin of the 2014 blaze, is now fully alight too. “It looks like the entire interior space is now fully alight. “The best we can probably hope for is structural facade retention and a complete rebuild of the interior. Devastating.”
Firefighters continue to battle the fire as dawn breaks over Glasgow
Firefighters remained at the scene on Saturday morning
Glasgow School of Art
In a tweet, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “This is clearly an extremely serious situation. “My first thoughts tonight are for the safety of people – but my heart also breaks for Glasgow’s beloved @GSofA. “Once again, we are indebted to the bravery of our firefighters and other emergency services.” Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell, who had visited the building only two weeks ago said he was “devastated”. He said the government “stands ready to help, financially or otherwise”. The Mackintosh building was completed in 1909 based on designs by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Scotland’s most-lauded designer. It has been described as “a working art school as well as a work of art”, and has an A-list rating from Historic Scotland. In recent years, the school has produced many of the UK’s leading contemporary artists such as Douglas Gordon, Alison Watt, David Shrigley, and three recent Turner Prize winners: Simon Starling in 2005, Richard Wright in 2009 and Martin Boyce in 2011. Other former students include actors Robbie Coltrane and Peter Capaldi, and artist Peter Howson. The fire in 2014, caused by a faulty projector, destroyed the building’s library, which was recognised as being one of the finest examples of art nouveau in the world.
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The ruined Mackintosh Library after the 2014 blazeThe Mackintosh Library was destroyed in the 2014 blaze
Fire fighters battle a blaze at the Mackintosh Building at the Glasgow School of Art for the second time in four years
The building was undergoing restoration works after the previous fire in 2014 Source BBC
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