BBC News – Fire crews tackle blaze at Glasgow School of Art



Fire

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Firefighters are tackling a blaze at Glasgow School of Art

A major blaze has broken out at the A-listed Glasgow School of Art – one of Scotland’s most iconic buildings.

Eyewitnesses said the fire appeared to have started when a projector exploded in the basement of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building just before 12:30.

Smoke is billowing from the main windows, which are cracking, and through the attic studios.

The art school said everyone in the building escaped safely and there have been no reports of any casualties.

Police have cordoned off Renfrew Street, and smoke was also drifting across the M8.

Flames on art school
Fire at art school
Scene of fire
Scene of fire

Six fire appliances are at the scene, with firefighters seen pouring water on the building from a high ladder as flames blew windows out.

Broadcaster Muriel Gray, a former student and current chairwoman of the school, arrived and burst into tears when she saw the building in flames.

A post on Twitter from the School of Art said: “The Mackintosh building is on fire, all have been evacuated & we will post updates as we get them. Currently setting up an incident number.”

It later posted an update with said: “Everyone safe & evacuated. On behalf of staff and students, thank you to all who have expressed concern over Twitter. Updates as they come.”

Singer Lily Allen tweeted: “Oh no! This Glasgow School Of Art fire is devastating.”

Steven Moore, from the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow programme, tweeted: “Seeing Glasgow School of Art on fire is heartbreaking. It’s like watching a dear friend in agony & you’re unable to help. I feel sick.”

Austin Yuill, who works as a chef at the art school, told the BBC: “I’ve been moved two streets away from the Mackintosh building but before we left the place was completely ablaze all down the west side of the building.

Scene of fire
Smoke on Sauchiehall Street

“I’m told it started in the basement and it’s worked its way all the way up through the five floors.

“As far as I know it started from a spark which has gone on to foam, expanding foam.”

Asked how busy the art school was, he said: “It would be very busy because we’re working up to the end-of-year assessments, so all the students were installing their work today all over the Mackintosh building. There are a lot of very upset students here.”

He added: “Quite apart from it being voted the best building of the last 175 years, it is a major tourist draw and has an incredible reputation as an art school. This is really terrible.”

Charles Rennie Mackintosh is lauded as Scotland’s most influential architect and designer, with the art school building which bears his name considered by many to be his greatest masterpiece.

Mackintosh was a 28-year-old junior draughtsman at a Glasgow architecture firm when he drew up the designs for the building, which features distinctive heavy sandstone walls and large windows.

The dramatic art nouveau design took about 12 years to be completed, opening in 1909, but it signalled the birth of a new style in 20th Century European architecture.

Former students include actors Robbie Coltrane and Peter Capaldi and artist Peter Howson.

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23 May 2014 | 2:24 pm – Source: bbc.co.uk
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