Glasgow School of Art blaze probe enters final stages

Hundreds of tonnes of debris still need to be removed from the Glasgow School of Art site one year on as the investigation into the devastating blaze moves into its final phases.

The world-renowned building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was extensively damaged when a fire broke out late on June 15 last year.

It was nearing the end of a £35 million restoration following a previous fire in May 2014.

Mackintosh Building fire
The fire at the Mackintosh building at the Glasgow School of Art (@banpo_monkey/PA)

More than 120 firefighters battled the flames, which also took hold of nearby music venue the 02 ABC.

Hundreds of tonnes of fire debris has already been removed as two sectors of the building have been examined by fire inspectors.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) group manager David Dourley said: “The investigation is progressing.

“We have already undertaken two examinations within the Glasgow School of Art and are now turning towards the final phases, which will be challenging due to the significant volume of debris which requires to be removed.”

SFRS assistant chief officer Ross Haggart said: “We are conscious that we are now approaching the one-year milestone of this devastating event that resonated not only here in Scotland but across the world.

“We are aware of the cultural significance of the Glasgow School of Art and the affection held for the O2 ABC alongside the impact on local businesses and residents who were affected at the time.

“This has been at the forefront of our minds throughout what has been a formidable investigation.”

Mackintosh Building fire
Firefighters at the scene (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Haggart added: “The damage to the Mackintosh Building was far greater than the fire incident in 2014 and the impact on the building has complicated the investigative process.

“Nonetheless, a number of detailed examinations at key areas of the site have been undertaken following the removal of 400 tonnes of fire debris.

“But a significant volume of fire debris remains within the site and we will work alongside the on-site contractors to have this removed with a view to undertaking further examinations.

“The fire investigation remains focused on likely origin and cause – but against the backdrop of an unprecedented large-scale fire scene within a complex and challenging site.

“Our fire investigation team is working hard based on what remains within the building once the debris is removed, alongside all other evidence available to them.”

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