23 May 2014 Last updated at 13:40

Report: Glasgow School of Art fire

Key Points

  • Fire crews are tackling a blaze at the A listed Glasgow School of Art in the centre of the city
  • An eyewitness said the fire appeared to have started in the basement of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building in Renfrew Street just before 12:30.
  • The dramatic art nouveau design of the Glasgow School of Art building took 12 years to be completed, finally opening in 1909
  1.  
    13:44:

    Fire crews are tackling a blaze at the A-listed Glasgow School of Art in the centre of the city

     
  2.  
    13:45:

    An eyewitness said the fire appeared to have started in the basement of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building in Renfrew Street just before 12:30.

     
  3.  
    13:51:

    Chef Austin Yuill, who was evacuated from the area, told BBC Scotland: "One whole side of this massive building is pretty much alight, billowing with smoke, coming out of pretty much all of the first floor and the top floor windows and firefighters were really going at it."

     
  4.  
    Steven Annett Police have shut roads on Renfrew Street to allow fire crews to tackle the blaze
     
  5.  
    Tony Halbert Flames are pictured from the roof of the building
     
  6.  
    Maura Currie Maura Currie sent this picture of flames escaping from the building
     
  7.  
    13:56:

    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."

     
  8.  
    13:56:

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

     
  9.  
    13:57:

    The Charles Rennie Mackintosh design is a Categiry A-listed building and is a tourist attraction in its own right. It was completed in 1909 and is regarded as one of the finest buildings in Scotland.

     
  10.  
    Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon

    tweets: Thoughts with everyone @GSofA. The Mackintosh Building is not just part of Glasgow's heritage - it is a national treasure.

     
  11.  
    13:59:

    Scottish Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said on Twitter: "Serious concern about fire at Glasgow School of Art."

     
  12.  
    13:59:

    Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran said on Twitter she had "just heard about terrible fire at Glasgow School of Art", adding: "Hope people are safe."

     
  13.  
    1400:

    Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who is an MSP for the Glasgow region, said the blaze was "dreadful news", describing the art school building as "one of Glasgow's finest".

     
  14.  
    14:01:

    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.

    "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."

     
  15.  
    14:01:

    Mr Yuill said the art school would have been very busy. "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."

     
  16.  
    Author and screenwriter John Niven

    tweets: Nightmare this fire at Glasgow School of Art. One of the loveliest buildings in the world.

     
  17.  
    14:05:

    The world-famous Glasgow School of Art building was completed in 1909. Construction work started on the building in 1897 after Mackintosh won a design competition while working for Glasgow architects Honeyman and Keppie.

     
  18.  
    Mike Brooke Fire crews attend the fire on Renfrew Street
     
  19.  
    Lily Allen

    tweets: "Oh no! This Glasgow School Of Art fire is devastating."

     
  20.  
    14:09: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    At the scene: "When I came up smoke was billowing across the lanes of the M8. That gives you some sense of how big this fire was."

     
  21.  
    14:11: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    "A number of students I spoke to were in the new Reid building across the road and noticed the smoke billowing out just after midday.

    "They said the fire seemed to take hold quickly and move up through the building.

    "When I came up the window the firefighters seemed to be targeting was the historic Mackintosh library."

     
  22.  
    14:16: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    "We understand all the students and everyone has got out safely but the sad thing is that as well as this being a working school of art it is also a historic building with historic furniture and fittings. At this stage we really don't know how bad the damage really is."

     
  23.  
    Liam Bradley Glasgow School of Art students watch from outside the building
     
  24.  
    Steven Moore, BBC's Antiques Roadshow

    tweets: 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.

     
  25.  
    Jackie Adams The flames from the building are visible across Glasgow
     
  26.  
    Graham Steel

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

     
  27.  
    14:20: Glasgow School of Art

    tweets: "Everyone safe & evacuated. On behalf of staff and students, thank you to all who have expressed concern over Twitter. Updates as they come."

     
  28.  
    James Kinghorn Smoke covered all of Sauchiehall Street
     
  29.  
    Glasgow School of Art

    tweets "Everyone safe & evacuated. On behalf of staff and students, thank you to all who have expressed concern over Twitter. Updates as they come."

     
  30.  
    BBC Scotland's Julie Peacock

    "Students at Glasgow School of Art said that the fire started after a projector exploded in the basement and set fire to expanding foam that was being used for an art installation. They say final year students had been preparing for their end of year show."

     
  31.  
    Fran Healy

    tweets: "Man the mac library is all wood!!!! And loads of paper!! Man!!"

     
  32.  
    14:24:

    In a statement, Prof Naren Barfield, former head of postgraduate studies at GSA, now a lecturer at the Royal College of Art in London, said: "I'm obviously concerned for my former colleagues there and the students, but also really worried for the building itself - Mackintosh's masterpiece and one of the best-loved buildings in Scotland, and the absolutely finest example of an art school building.

    "All of us here feel deeply for the GSA community, especially as this has happened in the run up to a graduation show."

     
  33.  
    This is what Charles Rennie Mackintosh's famous building should look like. It is widely-regarded as one of Scotland's finest This is what Charles Rennie Mackintosh's famous building should look like. It is widely-regarded as one of Scotland's finest
     
  34.  
    Allan Whyte Fire crews get ready to enter the building
     
  35.  
    Police Scotland

    tweets: "Fire at Glasgow School of Art , Renfrew St - road is closed at Renfrew Street at Garnet Street to eastbound traffic. 1/2"

     
  36.  
    Police Scotland

    tweets: Glasgow School of Art fire - Hill St closed at Dalhousie St. Traffic stopped northbound, Garnet St from Sauchiehall St down to Garnet St 2/2

     
  37.  
    Glasgow Film

    tweets: "Such sad news about GSA - a beautiful historic & culturally important Glasgow building. Our thoughts are with staff & students."

     
  38.  
    14:46:
  39.  
    Flames on art school
     
  40.  
    BBC Radio 6 Music's Lauren Laverne

    tweets: "OMG is the Glasgow School of Art on fire?? Horrendous news."

     
  41.  
    14:54:

    Some students were in tears outside the building. Hugh Thornhill, a second year student, said: "I was helping one of the fourth years set up their exhibit and suddenly the alarm went off.

    "We didn't think it was anything but we had to go out and then we saw smoke coming out and realised that it was really bad.

    "It got to the point where flames were coming out of the top floor.

    "All that effort is gone, everyone's work on that side of the building is ruined. Even if it didn't catch fire it will be damaged extensively.

    "The degree show next month is pretty much a bust now, it's sad."

     
  42.  
    14:55:

    Staff are arranging for locksmiths and services for students who left personal belongings and keys in the building.

    Second year student Clare Reilly said: "It's not about that (keys and personal belongings), four years of work is gone for all those students, the deadline was at 5pm today.

    "Even the archive and library in there will be gone.

    "There's so much work and history in the building and it's gone. I've got two years to go but we might not be allowed back in."

     
  43.  
    Firefighters tackling a major blaze at Glasgow School of Art"s Charles Rennie Mackintosh building Firefighters tackling a major blaze at Glasgow School of Art's Charles Rennie Mackintosh building
     
  44.  
    15:02: Novelist AL Kennedy

    tweets: Just utterly gutting news about the Glasgow School of Art.

     
  45.  
    15:02:

    TV presenter and writer Muriel Gray, a former art school pupil, was at the scene and told BBC Scotland it was "a nightmare". She added: "The really positive thing is that everyone is safe.

     
  46.  
    15:05:

    Muriel Gray, who is chair of the board of governors at the Glasgow School of Art, told BBC Scotland: "It is one of the most famous buildings in the world. It is absolutely exquisite."

     
  47.  
    15:11:
     Smoke could be seen billowing from the roof of the building and flames coming from some windows on the upper floors Smoke could be seen billowing from the roof of the building and flames coming from some windows on the upper floors
     
  48.  
    15:19:

    Matthew Lowell took this on the corner of Rose Street and Renfrew Street soon after the fire broke out around midday.

    Matthew Lowell took this on the corner of Rose Street and Renfrew Street soon after the fire broke out around midday.
     
  49.  
    15:22:
    Charles Rennie Mackintosh

    Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a 28-year-old junior draughtsman at a Glasgow architecture firm when he drew up the designs for the building that many consider his masterpiece. Here is the history of Mackintosh's classic building.

     
  50.  
    The journal of the Royal Institute of British Architects

    tweeted: A way must be found faithfully to restore the Glasgow School of Art. Declaration of intent at June's Venice Biennale? #saveGSofA

     
  51.  
    Elaine Eckford, who lives round the corner and used to attened the art school, said she was "totally shocked to see this".

    Elaine Eckford, who lives round the corner, said she was "totally shocked to see this".

    "I attended the art school myself some years ago, and am saddened that this has happened to such an historical building."

     
  52.  
    15:41:

    Writer and TV presenter Muriel Gray, who is chair of the board of governors at the art school, said she did not want to speculate on whether students had lost their final degree work in the fire.

    She said: "Unfortunately it was the last hand-in before the degree show this morning but we don't know, so we don't want to break anybody's heart before we know the extent of the damage.

    "It might be smoke damage. But it could not be at a worse time, frankly."

     
  53.  
    15:42:

    Alex Misick, 25, was helping his girlfriend put the finishing touches to her degree show project across the road in the school's new Reid building when they saw plumes of smoke.

    The GSA graduate, now vice president of the Students' Association, said: "I think everyone is in shock. It's soul-destroying.

    "It was literally a few hours to go before everyone finished up and handed in. That's everyone's work over three or four years. Everyone's in tears."

     
  54.  
    Dundee's McManus Art Gallery

    tweets: "Incredibly sad to hear news about The Glasgow School of Art - thoughts with everyone"

     
  55.  
    15:44:
    Smoke rises into the sky after a fire broke out at the Glasgow School of Art's Charles Rennie Mackintosh building Smoke rises into the sky after a fire broke out at the Glasgow School of Art's Charles Rennie Mackintosh building
     
  56.  
    15:50:

    First Minister Alex Salmond responded to the fire on Twitter. He tweeted: "Thoughts with staff & students at @GSofA - awful to see destruction of this iconic building and students work."

     
  57.  
    Creative Scotland

    tweets: "Following the developments at Glasgow School of Art @GSofA with concern - thoughts are with staff and students."

     
  58.  
    16:04:

    Glasgow School of Art is expected to hold a news conference on the fire within the next hour or so.

     
  59.  
    16:07:
    Alison Baxter, a third year Textile Design Student, said: " I was inside the new GSA Reid Building watching the outbreak of the fire until we were evacuated."

    Alison Baxter, a third year Textile Design Student, said: " I was inside the new GSA Reid Building watching the outbreak of the fire until we were evacuated."

     
  60.  
    Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    told BBC Scotland's Newsdrive programme: "I was up there from about 13:00 and at that stage it was quite clear there were flames coming out of the library window."

     
  61.  
    16:11: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    "I was told by onlookers there were windows exploding. These were the same wonderful windows that were replaced just before Christmas because almost every part of the building is historic. That is the wonderful thing about this building, it is a working work of art."

     
  62.  
    16:11: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    told Newsdrive many students had been working away on their degree show works when the fire happened.

     
  63.  
    Glasgow Museums

    tweets: Such terrible news about Glasgow School of Art. @GlasgowMuseums & @glasgowlife offering assistance, with specialist staff made available.

     
  64.  
    16:14:

    Glasgow School of Art has produced a host of famous alumni across the creative fields over the past 165 years.

    As well as renowned artists, former students include members of the bands Travis and Franz Ferdinand, and actors Peter Capaldi and Robbie Coltrane.

    Several winners of the prestigious Turner Prize studied at Glasgow School of Art (GSA), including Martin Boyce, who scooped the prize in 2011 for his installation Do Words Have Voices, beating what critics felt was the strongest shortlist for many years.

     
  65.  
    FIRE SERVICE UPDATE 16:18:

    The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: "Firefighters remain in attendance at the scene at the Mackintosh Building in Glasgow.

    "SFRS crews have been working to bring the fire under control with high pressure water jets used to douse the flames.

    "Appliances from across Glasgow and west Central Scotland were mobilised to the incident, which began shortly before 12.30pm.

    "Firefighters reached the scene within four minutes of the service receiving the first of several 999 calls."

     
  66.  
    FIRE SERVICE UPDATE 16:20:

    The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said search and rescue teams wearing breathing apparatus entered the building and led a number of people to safety.

    Both internal and external firefighting operations have been conducted throughout the incident and three aerial rescue pumps are currently being used to douse the flames from height.

    There are no reports of injuries at this point.

     
  67.  
    16:21:

    Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay said: "This is likely to be a protracted incident and crews have been working extremely hard to tackle what is clearly a very significant fire.

    "The priority throughout this operation has been to protect life but salvage operations are also under way."

     
  68.  
    RIAS RESPONSE 16:23:

    In a statement, president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Iain Connelly spoke of the Mackintosh building's world renown and "immeasurable" influence on 20th century architecture.

    He added: "Scotland has seen the loss of an international treasure which reflects the genius of one of our greatest ever architects.

    "The whole of the architectural profession in Scotland will, I am sure, join with me in sending out a message to the students and staff of the school and all those who have been associated with this building over the decades, a message of sorrow and commiseration at this terrible, terrible news.

    "It is too early to talk about what happens now, but the architectural profession in Scotland will do anything it can to help in any way."

     
  69.  
    Novelist Ian Rankin

    tweets: "Just heard about devastating fire at Glasgow School of Art - one of Scotland's most iconic buildings. Sad sad news."

     
  70.  
    16:34:

    Stuart Robertson, director of the Glasgow-based Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, told the BBC: "I'm standing outside the building just now and there are flames still coming out of the library. It's absolutely heartbreaking. It's like losing a limb.

    "The school is totally unique. It's an art school but it's also a work of art in itself. Lots of people have been walking round in tears, including students who will have lost all their work."

     
  71.  
    16:46:
    Burning roof of the Mackintosh building Flames ripped through the roof of the Mackintosh building. Much of the attic space was used as artists' studios
     
  72.  
    Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop

    tweets: "Mackintosh fire heart-breaking in so many ways -spoke to Director @GSofA to offer support and assistance from Scot Gov and Historic Scotland"

     
  73.  
    16:57:
    Firefighter A firefighter douses flames inside the Mackintosh building
     
  74.  
    17:11:

    During a media briefing, Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay said he couldn't describe the extent of the damage to building at the moment, adding that firefighters were on the scene within four minutes of receiving the first call, and were still tackling the blaze.

    He said firefighters had been liaising with university staff and were working to save "iconic items", as well as the fabric of the building.

     
  75.  
    17:19:

    Muriel Gray, chair of the board of governors at GSA, said: "It's been a devastating day for everybody involved in Glasgow School of Art. We want to make it clear we are so grateful to the fire service. It's a very black day."

    Muriel Gray

    Asked whether the building could be restored, Ms Gray, a graduate of school, said: "We don't know what's been destroyed. It's a waiting game."

     
  76.  
    17:29:
    Alasdair Hay Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay

    Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay told reporters he was "as confident as [he] could be" that no one was trapped inside the building.

    He said he was well aware of the "iconic nature" of the Mackintosh, adding that structural engineers from Glasgow City Council were on-site working with firefighters to preserve the fabric of the building.

     
  77.  
    17:44:

    Final year painting and printmaking student Elizabeth Pirrie told BBC Radio Scotland's Newsdrive programme her degree show work was "probably all gone now".

    She added: "There's been a lot of tears over the last few hours but I suppose the main thing is that everyone is alive - it's a complete miracle. It's a stunning building. I didn't realise just how important it was until today."

     
  78.  
    Flames engulf the the Glasgow School of Art Charles Rennie Mackintosh Building after a fire broke out
     
  79.  
    RIBA RESPONSE 17:56:

    A spokesman for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) described the blaze as "an international tragedy".

    He added: "The most important work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect of international significance, Glasgow School of Art is held in the highest regard by architects and the public alike - it was rightly judged to be the best building of the past 175 years in a nationwide [RIBA] poll.

    "Damage to a building of such immense significance and uniqueness is an international tragedy. It is irreplaceable. It is too early to talk about what happens now, but the institute will do anything it can to help in any way."

     
  80.  
    fire in roof
     
  81.  
    18:25:
    The smoke from the fire was visible across Glasgow city centre The smoke from the fire was visible across Glasgow city centre
     
  82.  
    18:30:

    Scotland's chief fire officer Alasdair Hay speaking at the scene of the art school fire says the main blaze is out but there are still pockets of fire within the building.

    Smoke is still billowing from the building over the Glasgow skyline as firecrews continue to fight the remaining flames.

    Some objects of importance have been salvaged by firefighters, and structural engineers are assessing the safety and stability of the building.

    Despite the ferocity of the quickly-spreading blaze there are no reports of anyone injured, though a full fingertip search of the building will take place later.

    Fire crews, who have been drawn from across Scotland are expected to stay on the scene for many hours yet.

     
  83.  
    firefighters on roof
     
  84.  
  85.  
    19:06: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    told Reporting Scotland: "We have seen a few of the fire engines leaving already so clearly they are beginning to scale down the operation here but they are still at work. We can see that there are plenty of firefighters still inside and outside they building. They are expected to be here for some time yet."

     
  86.  
    19:06:
    Neil Baxter

    Neil Baxter, of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, told Reporting Scotland: "It is a desperately sad day for Glasgow, for architecture, indeed for the whole of Scotland. We have lost one our greatest architectural and indeed artistic masterpieces."

     
  87.  
    19:11:

    Neil Baxter of architecture body RIAS said: "People have been standing crying in the streets of Glasgow and I think that sentiment has gone around the world.

    "We have lost the ultimate expression of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's genius in the art school library and it is a tragic event, it is beyond belief, it is appalling."

     
  88.  
    19:14: Pauline McLean BBC Scotland

    said: "We are still waiting to here more news this evening about what can be saved, what will happen next. It is too early to tell. There seems be extensive damage but we are also hearing that some items, perhaps from the museum, have been salvaged. We wait to hear but it is definitely a black day for Glasgow."

     
  89.  
    19:19:
    fire

    The building was packed with students when the fire broke about just after noon but no-one appears to have been injured.

     
  90.  
    19:37:

    That's all the news from the live page for this evening. The efforts to completely extinguish the fire are continuing. Follow the news on our main story.

     

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