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Blaze rips through Glasgow School of Art for second time

More than 120 firefighters called to the Mackintosh Building on Sauchiehall Street.

A fire has ripped through the Glasgow School of Art for the second time in four years.

Emergency services were called to the Mackintosh Building on Sauchiehall Street on Friday at 11.20pm.

Nearby buildings, including nightclubs, were evacuated, with smoke seen for miles.

There are no reports of any injuries at this time while more than 150 firefighters were at the scene overnight.

The fire spread to "several properties including the O2 ABC nightclub causing extensive damage," the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said.

Local residents were evacuated and won't be able to return to their homes until later today.

Deputy assistant chief officer Peter Heath said the Glasgow School of Art building had been "extensively damaged by fire" that had "spread very rapidly".

Asked if any of the restoration work had been destroyed, Mr Heath replied: "I would say, given the extent of the fire, that would be a fair comment."

Police Scotland said: "Officers remain at the scene of the major fire in Glasgow city centre.

"A high volume water pump from the River Clyde has been put in place by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, which has resulted in a number of closures on the following roads: Broomielaw Brown Street Argyle Street Douglas Street Dalhousie Street

"Closures also remain in place around the Sauchiehall Street area."

Daylight: An indication of the damage on Saturday morning.
Daylight: An indication of the damage on Saturday morning. PA

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: "This is still very much a live and complex incident.

"Some local residents have been evacuated and provided with shelter, I hope they can go home later today.

"We are all so upset about this precious place but please heed advice: stay away and stay safe."

The fire comes four years after the Mackintosh Building previously went up in flames.

The blaze caused significant damage to the west wing, including the loss of the celebrated Mackintosh Library, and the first stage of the restoration was to fit a temporary roof over the site.

A full-scale model of part of the library was later built to test if the original materials and techniques from Mackintosh's 19th century design could be used in its reconstruction.

Keir Construction were managing the project with the design led by PagePark Architects.

The first phase saw outer work with damaged stonework repaired and the roof replaced before the delicate process of restoring the west wing and upgrading the east wing interiors began last year.

Work was due to be completed in February 2019.

Local resident John McInnes, 22, said: "I can't believe that this has happened again to such an iconic building. It's unbelievable.

"Questions need to be asked, they spent so much on renovation, but this seems so much worse than the last one."

Glasgow MP Paul Sweeney described it as "the most architecturally important building in Glasgow".

He tweeted: "The Mack restoration project, led by @pagepark and others, has been an incredibly innovative effort to restore Mackintosh's masterpiece to life.

"I can only hope that the skills developed on it since 2014 will help to overcome this horrific setback. We cannot lose this building.

"The 2014 fire destroyed around 20% of the western wing of the building - a later extension completed in 1909, containing the spectacular library - with a further 30% smoke damaged. This fire appears to be much more extensive and affects the 1899 eastern wing of the building."

Three months ago, crews tackled a major fire at Sauchiehall Street's Victoria's nightclub.

At the height of the blaze, more than 120 firefighters battled to bring the flames under control.

Smoke: Streets have been closed off.
Smoke: Streets have been closed off.

Nicola Sturgeon said the blaze was "an extremely serious situation".

She said: "Once again, we are indebted to the bravery of our firefighters and other emergency services."

Arun Day, who was playing at the nearby Campus, said on social media: "Everyone stay clear of Glasgow Art School and the surrounding areas.

"I was playing in Campus and everyone got evacuated."

Blaze: Glasgow School of Art.
Blaze: Glasgow School of Art. STV

He added: "Massive fire at the Art School. Hope everyone in and around the school is safe.

"All of Sauchiehall street is blocked off. Police and fire services everywhere."

Fire: Blaze has ripped through building.
Fire: Blaze has ripped through building. Calum Tomeny

A number of roads have been closed while crews tackle the blaze.

Sauchiehall Street has been closed from Charing Cross to Rose Street, while Renfrew Street from Garnet Street to Cambridge Street has also been shut.

The building was designed by artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and built between 1897 and 1909.

Glasgow University said on Twitter: "Devastated to wake up to news of the fire at the Glasgow School of Art.

"All our thoughts are with our colleagues and friends at @GSofA this morning. We hope everyone is safe."

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