Over 120 firefighters battle huge blaze at Glasgow School of Art

17:07 | 16/06/2018

Fire ripped through one of the world's top art schools in the Scottish city of Glasgow early Saturday, as the historic building was undergoing major restoration work following another blaze four years ago.

over 120 firefighters battle huge blaze at glasgow school of art
The fire gutted the 1909 building and spread to two others nearby, a night club and a music venue. (Photo: Twitter/Carol Wilson)

LONDON: More than 120 firefighters battled to contain a huge fire that ripped through one of the world's top art schools in the Scottish city of Glasgow on Friday (Jun 15) night.

Flames and smoke engulfed one of Scotland's architectural gems, the Mackintosh building at the Glasgow School of Art, for the second time in four years, the Scottish fire service said on Saturday.

The fire gutted the 1909 building and spread to two others nearby, a night club and a music venue.

There were no casualties, the fire service said.

The Mackintosh building had been due to re-open next year after millions of pounds in restoration works following a May 2014 fire.

"My first thoughts tonight are for the safety of people - but my heart also breaks for Glasgow's beloved School of Art," Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter.

Local residents were being evacuated from their homes with the glow from the blaze visible from across the city centre, witnesses told the Press Association.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the fire looked "much worse" than the last one.

Iain Bushell, deputy chief officer for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, told the broadcaster that efforts to bring the fire under control are expected to be "prolonged", and firefighters were facing "an extremely challenging and complex incident".

Paul Sweeney, a Glasgow MP, said on Twitter: "Devastated that a major fire has broken out at the Glasgow School of Art tonight.

"It looks like the entire interior space is now fully alight. The best we can probably hope for is structural facade retention and a complete rebuild of the interior."

Glasgow-born architect and designer Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a leading exponent of Art Nouveau, whose distinctive lines and lettering remain influential.

He won a competition to design the building in 1897 and it took around 10 years to complete but is now a landmark in the city, with special government-protected status.

The school's alumni include recent Turner Prize for art winners Simon Starling (2005), Richard Wright (2009) and Martin Boyce (2011).

Others include Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi, Harry Potter and James Bond movie actor Robbie Coltrane, and members from the Scottish rock bands Travis and Franz Ferdinand.

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