Glasgow School of Art fire: Charles Rennie Mackintosh building 'saved from total destruction'

Fire reportedly broke out in the basement of the building just after midday

Firefighters have managed to save the Glasgow School of Art from "total destruction" after hours battling a fire that threatened to raze the historic building to the ground.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said more than 90 per cent of the building was described as “viable” and up to 70 per cent of the contents were saved.

Assistant Chief Officer Dave Boyle said: "Crews have been working absolutely flat out throughout this very challenging incident and it is clear their effort and skill has saved this treasured building and many of the items it housed.

"While the priority from the outset was to save life we have also been working closely with Glasgow School of Art staff to ensure firefighters conducted an effective salvage operation.

"We are of course very conscious the Mackintosh is a world renowned building that is a key feature of this great city, and that the artworks it stores are not only valuable but also cherished."

He added: "Work to save everything that can be saved is ongoing and we will continue to work closely with GSA staff and students throughout this operation

Mr Boyle said: "We are acutely aware this period is the culmination of years of endeavour for students and that their irreplaceable work is inside the Mackintosh."

A GSA spokeswoman expressed "very sincere thanks" to firefighters.

Fire crews will remain at the scene through the night dampening down hot spots to prevent any further flare-ups.

Everyone was evacuated from the building when the blaze started and smoke could be seen billowing from the roof as flames burst out from windows on the upper floors.

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."

The Glasgow School of Art – designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh The Glasgow School of Art – designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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."

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

Shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran used the social networking site to say she had "just heard about terrible fire at Glasgow School of Art", adding: "Hope people are safe."

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".

Additional reporting by PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat