Renowned Glasgow School of Art building engulfed by fire | News | DW | 16.06.2018
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Renowned Glasgow School of Art building engulfed by fire

A large blaze has ripped through an iconic building at the Glasgow School of Art for the second time in four years. The premises were due to reopen next year following a major restoration project.

Fire engulfed one of the world's top arts schools in the Scottish city of Glasgow early on Saturday, and then spread to other nearby buildings, emergency services said.

Smoke and flames billowed from the Glasgow School of Art's Mackintosh building before extending to the O2 Academy concert venue and a nearby nightclub.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said no casualties had been reported, but dozens of nearby residents were evacuated from their homes.

The service said on Twitter that more than 120 firefighters were tackling the blaze, which it described as an "extremely challenging and complex incident."

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The blaze was the second to strike the Mackintosh building after fire broke out four years ago, which led to a multimillion pound project to return it to its former glory.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC that the fire looked "much worse" than the last one.

Local resident Connor Neil said a "big orange light" coming from the school could be seen from streets away.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear.

The Mackintosh Building blackened by smoke following a fire there in 2014

The Mackintosh building was gutted by fire in May 2014 and was set to reopen next year after extensive restoration work

Scotland's Daily Record newspaper reported that the blaze appeared to engulf the entire building, leading to concerns it may never be able to be fully restored.

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The building, one of the most famous in Glasgow, was built at the turn of the 19th century, and is often considered the masterpiece of architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Twitter that her heart "breaks for Glasgow's beloved" art school.

Paul Sweeney, a local MP for the opposition Labour party, tweeted that the structure was the most architecturally important building in the city. "We cannot lose this building," he wrote.

Local resident John McInnes told the UK's Press Association: "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."

Read more: Is the Scottish National Party 'on the sidelines' of politics?

The school's alumni include recent Turner Prize for art winners Simon Starling (2005), Richard Wright (2009) and Martin Boyce (2011).

Others include "Doctor Who" actor Peter Capaldi, Harry Potter and James Bond movie actor Robbie Coltrane, and members of the Scottish rock bands Travis and Franz Ferdinand.

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European landmarks: Edinburgh Castle

mm/jlw (AP, AFP, dpa)

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