Firefighters at Mackintosh for second night as Glasgow mulls treasure’s future
There are fears the charred remains of the historically-important building may have to be pulled down.
Firefighters remained at Glasgow’s historic School of Art for a second night as they work to completely extinguish the fire.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said it was “absolutely committed” to preventing any further damage to properties surrounding the world-renowned building after it was gutted by a major blaze that began on Friday night.
The fire was the second in four years to hit the Mackintosh Building, which was undergoing a multimillion-pound restoration project to return it to its former glory.
The latest blaze was even more devastating and there are fears that what remains of the famed building may have to be pulled down.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led Glaswegians, former students and public figures in expressing their shock and dismay at the disaster as she visited the site on Saturday.
“The fire, as I think everybody could see from the pictures last night, has been a devastating blaze, much, much worse than the one that took hold of the Mackintosh building four years ago so the damage is severe and extensive.
“It’s actually quite hard to find the words, given what happened four years ago, the fact that it was so close to being reopened after the restoration that this has happened.”
The Hollywood and Westminster governments have said they stand ready to provide support, including financially, to the art school as it assesses what the future may hold.
Asked if the building had a future, Ms Sturgeon said: “I’ve spoken to the principal of the art school already and the Scottish Government stands ready to do anything we reasonably can to help ensure that the building has a future.
“It’s too early to say what that might entail or what that might look like. We don’t know yet what the structural condition of the building is. It’s simply too early to give definitive answers but I’m determined as we were after the fire four years ago that the Scottish Government will do everything it possibly can.”
Devastated to hear news of fire at Glasgow School of Art. Only fortnight since I was there to see restoration. My heart goes out to all those who had worked so hard on that. @UKGovScotland stands ready to help, financially or otherwise @GSofA https://t.co/4sOWhITpoy— David Mundell (@DavidMundellDCT) June 16, 2018
The blaze broke out at about 11.20pm on Friday, spreading to nearby buildings including the O2 ABC.
At its height 120 firefighters were involved in the operation to bring the fire under control, with around 50 still on site working on four fronts to fully extinguish it.
SFRS group manager Mark Gallacher said: “We will remain on the scene for as long as it takes and we are absolutely committed to preventing any further damage to surrounding properties and ensuring the area is made safe.”