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Fire at Glasgow School of Art could have been avoided.

A fire suppression system was close to being activated that would have prevented the fire at Glasgow School of Art.

Flames tore through the Mackintosh Building on June 15 for the second time. The building was nearing the end of a £3million restoration by Kier Construction. Flames tore through the famous Mackintosh building and spread to nearby properties including the O2 ABC. Conservative estimates of the damage could be greater £100m. 

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) said huge pumps needed for the water mist system had arrived on site the day before the blaze.


Keith MacGillivray, chief executive of the BAFSA, said a fire suppression system had arrived at the Glasgow city centre site the day before the fire but would have taken “a few weeks” to test and install.

He said: “The pumps had arrived the day before but they were in component parts, the reason being the area where the pumps would be fitted, along with water tanks, was quite constricted.

"What they were going to do was put all the parts into space and then reassemble the pumps there. It would have to be connected to water tanks and tested so it was a few weeks away from being completed."

The first fire that happened in 2014, began when flammable gases from a foam canister used in a student project were ignited accidentally. A report by the Scottish fire and rescue service concluded that old ventilation ducts helped it spread into neighbouring studios and upwards through the building.

More than 120 firefighters and 20 fire engines were called to tackle the blaze, which was reported at about 11.20pm on Friday (15th June 2018) by a passing police officer. The flames spread to neighbouring music venues, the O2 ABC and the Campus nightclub on Sauchiehall Street.

The fire service said on Saturday that forensic crews had not yet been able to access the building because of safety concerns but that an investigation into the cause had begun.

Huge detriment to local community and businesses

There had been a lack of communication between the council and other bodies over when they might be able to go back.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said:

"This has been an incredibly difficult situation for businesses and residents and the fact that there is no real change in the information we're able to give them is incredibly frustrating for people.’


"Unfortunately what people really need is to get back into their homes and at this point, there is simply no way to estimate when the very real danger to life and limb will have passed."

Michael Argent, who lives close to the art school, said:

 "The most difficult thing is not knowing how long it is going to be."

Another local resident, Christopher Bowen, said:

 "It is beyond frustrating because the communication has been awful. We have more or less been left to our own devices."


About Cannon Fire Protection

With almost 30 years experience, Cannon Fire Protection has developed an excellent reputation within the fire protection industry throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.

For well over a decade now the company has focused on supporting fire industry trade users, providing turnkey solutions for fixed fire suppression. Independent auditing of our quality management systems, contracting and service operations ensures the very best provision of support in our sector. Cannon Fire Protection is part of the Asset Protection Group.

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