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Glasgow School of Art Fire crews battle to save building

Glasgow School of Art Fire crews battle to save building

Pauline McLean reports from the scene, where smoke is billowing from the building


Firefighters are continuing to fight a major blaze at the A-listed Glasgow School of Art - one of Scotland's most iconic buildings.
Eyewitnesses said the fire appeared to have started when a projector exploded in the basement of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building just before 12:30.
The roof space of the art school is still well alight. It is feared large parts have been destroyed.
Everyone in the building was said to have escaped safely.
There have been no reports of any casualties.
Final year students were said to have been preparing for their end of year degree show in the building when the blaze broke out. The deadline for submissions to the degree was 17:00.
Police have cordoned off Renfrew Street, and smoke was also drifting across the M8. Large crowds of students and onlookers gathered near the scene, with several people in tears as they watched the events unfold.
fireman pouring water on Glasgow School of Art
Flames on art school
Fire at art school
Scene of fire
Fire appliances from across Glasgow and the west of Scotland were at the scene, with firefighters seen pouring water on the building from a high ladder as flames blew windows out.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said search and rescue teams had entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and led a number of people to safety.
Chief 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."
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."
It later posted an update with said: "Everyone safe & evacuated. On behalf of staff and students, thank you to all who have expressed concern over Twitter. Updates as they come."

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."
Broadcaster Muriel Gray, a former student and current chairwoman of the school, arrived and burst into tears when she saw the building in flames.
Ms Gray told BBC Scotland she was "heartbroken" to see the "most amazing building in Glasgow" go up in flames.
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said on Twitter: "Thoughts with staff & students at @GSofA - awful to see destruction of this iconic building and students work."
Scene of fire
Scene of fire
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.
Archive: In April 2013 the BBC got a close-up look at the school's Rennie Mackintosh clocks, which took a year to restore to their former glory
"As far as I know it started from a spark which has gone on to foam, expanding foam."
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."
Charles Rennie Mackintosh Mackintosh was a 28-year-old junior draughtsman when he drew up plans for the building
Charles Rennie Mackintosh is lauded as Scotland's most influential architect and designer, with the art school building which bears his name considered by many to be his greatest masterpiece.
Mackintosh was a 28-year-old junior draughtsman at a Glasgow architecture firm when he drew up the designs for the building, which features distinctive heavy sandstone walls and large windows.
The dramatic art nouveau design took about 12 years to be completed, opening in 1909, but it signalled the birth of a new style in 20th Century European architecture.
The president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Iain Connelly, said the value of the building "goes well beyond Glasgow or even Scotland".
He added: "It is a work of architectural heritage of world renown and its influence on 20th century architecture is immeasurable. Scotland has seen the loss of an international treasure which reflects the genius of one of our greatest ever architects."
In recent years, Glasgow School of Art has produced many of the UK's leading contemporary artists such as Douglas Gordon and David Shrigley and three recent Turner Prize winners: Simon Starling in 2005, Richard Wright in 2009 and Martin Boyce in 2011.
Other former students include actors Robbie Coltrane and Peter Capaldi and artist Peter Howson

BBC News
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