Firefighters have been tackling a serious blaze at a historic art school building in Glasgow city centre. Crews were called to reports of a fire at Glasgow School of Art’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh building at about 12.30pm. Flames were seen leaping from several windows and the roof of the building on the corner of Renfrew Street and Scott Street. The blaze is now being damped down but early assessments say most of the interior of the Category A listed building has been destroyed.
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. “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.” 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.” As well as renowned artists, former students include members of the bands Travis and Franz Ferdinand, Architect and TV presenter George Clarke and actors Peter Capaldi and Robbie Coltrane. Travis lead singer Fran Healy tweeted: “Man the mac library is all wood!!!! And loads of paper!! Man!!” George Clarke said: “Devastating to see the Glasgow School of Art in flames…I’ll support its full restoration in any way. “My heart does go out to all the students who have lost their amazing work!” The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) described the blaze as “an international tragedy”. Chief Fire Officer at the scene Alasdair Hay said some items had been salvaged but it was too early to say exactly what had been destroyed. He said: “Part of our operation is to try and salvage what we can and we worked with colleagues from the school who identified objects of significance that they would like us, if possible, to save. He said efforts were underway to save as much of the fabric of the building as possible but he c ould not say if any of the students work could be recovered. “There was a salvage plan and we’ve worked to save the iconic items but we’re not unaware of the importance of the work of students within that building,” he added.