Glasgow School of Art bosses ‘hopeful’ of positive future for gutted Mackintosh building

Fire fighters continue to dampen down following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), left, and the O2 ABC Glasgow, right, in Glasgow. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
Fire fighters continue to dampen down following the fire at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), left, and the O2 ABC Glasgow, right, in Glasgow. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
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Glasgow School of Art (GSA) bosses say they “remain hopeful” of a positive outcome for the Mackintosh Building, after it was engulfed in flames

Around 50 firefighters are still at the scene of the blaze, which broke out on Friday night, spreading to nearby premises including the popular music venue the O2 ABC.

The cause of the fire at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece is yet to be established and its full condition is not yet known.

Muriel Gray, GSA board of governors chairwoman, said: “It is an understatement to say everyone is utterly devastated but as usual the GSA executive team, staff and students, have been outstanding, positive and supportive.

“We now have a difficult waiting game until Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Glasgow City Council and associated agencies have completed their investigations into the condition of the Building.

“We remain hopeful of as positive an outcome as possible because it is clear that the love for the Mackintosh and recognition of its importance to Glasgow and the wider world is shared by absolutely everyone.”

A few pockets of fire remain at the site, with crews using thermal imaging cameras to identify any remaining hot spots.

The blaze is 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.

Professor Tom Inns, Director – GSA said “We are heartbroken our beloved Mackintosh Building has suffered another major fire. We are eternally grateful for the professionalism and passion of the Scottish emergency services, principally the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, who have worked tirelessly since late on Friday night to control the fire. Our entire community - staff, students, alumni, supporters and friends, will share our sadness at the events of Friday night.

Our immediate priority is continuity for our students and staff, maintaining the educational experience for over 400 postgraduates and 1500 Open Studio students who are with us for the rest of this academic year, and planning for the 2018/19 academic year in what is clearly a challenging environment. However, we are strengthened by the continued messages and visible acts of support from our local community, our partners in Glasgow City Council, Scottish Funding Council, Historic Environment Scotland, the Scottish and UK Governments; and friends from across the world”.

Read more: Glasgow School of Art fire:‘It’s hard to find words…it was nearly reopened’

Both UK Scottish Secretary David Mundell and Scotland’s Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said fire service investigations into the cause of the blaze should be allowed to progress before any decision on an inquiry is taken.

Earlier, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) group manager Martin Hill said: “This has clearly been a protracted incident and today we are still very much in a firefighting phase.

“Our firefighters have been working effectively throughout the night and we are continuing to dampen down any remaining pockets of fire.

“We are also using thermal imaging cameras to identify any hidden hotspots and will continue, working alongside partners, to assess our priorities and our tactical firefighting operation over the course of the day.

“We will remain on the scene for as long as it takes - we are absolutely committed to preventing any further damage to surrounding properties and ensuring the area is made safe.

“I would like to express a sincere thank you to our crews on the ground and our firefighters in operations control for continuing to effectively co-ordinate our resources as well as our partners along with the wider community.”

SFRS has said it is too early to determine the cause of the fire.

The Holyrood 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.

Read more: Mackintosh building repairs would cost at least £100M say experts