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Multimillion-pound restoration hit by blaze at Mackintosh Building – fire chief

Firefighters at the historic Mackintosh Building in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Firefighters at the historic Mackintosh Building in Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Fire has caused “extensive” damage at Glasgow’s famed Mackintosh Building and hit multimillion-pound restoration work carried out in the aftermath of a previous blaze, a fire officer has confirmed.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service deputy assistant chief officer Peter Heath said the Glasgow School of Art building had been “extensively damaged by fire” that had “spread very rapidly”.

Crews were called to the building in the city centre at around 11.20pm on Friday and were met with “extremely difficult conditions”, he said.

Less than an hour later, flames and smoke were belching into the night sky – with more than 150 firefighters eventually deployed at the scene.

“(The fire) reached from the ground floor right through to the roof. It is significantly damaged,” Mr Heath said.

The fire spread to nearby buildings, including the O2 ABC music venue – although firefighters managed to prevent it taking hold any further.

Despite the scale of the blaze, no casualties have been reported.

A restoration project, which was set to cost between £20 million and £35 million, had been returning the famous art school to its former glory after a devastating fire in 2014, with Brad Pitt and Peter Capaldi among those lending their support.

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.”

The fire officer said the blaze was a “devastating loss for Glasgow”, with firefighters dealing with a “sense of loss” along with the city’s people.

Crews are remaining at the scene to dampen down pockets of fire at the Mackintosh Building and the O2 ABC.