Two months on, the first service is held in Notre Dame… but one year on, still no answers on Glasgow School of Art fire

© KARINE PERRET/AFP/Getty ImagesPirests in hard hats host first mass in Notre Dame since April inferno
Pirests in hard hats host first mass in Notre Dame since April inferno

The delay in establishing the cause of the second devastating blaze at the Glasgow School of Art was criticised yesterday.

A year on from the blaze at the iconic building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, investigators say they still have several hundred tonnes of debris to sift through.

By contrast, Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris held a mass yesterday just two months after a fire devastated the 856-year-old building.

The length of time Scotland takes to investigate disasters has come under sustained criticism after it took more than five years for a Fatal Accident Inquiry to begin into the Clutha tragedy. An inquiry into the Grenfell disaster in London began with a year.

Last week, a fatal accident inquiry was announced into a helicopter crash which killed four people near Shetland six years ago.

A report into the Glasgow fire, which also devastated the 02 ABC concert venue in Sauchiehall Street, was due next month but it is understood it will not be ready until September at the earliest.

The fire destroyed the building in June of last year (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

On Friday Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s assistant chief officer Ross Haggart said 400 tonnes of fire debris had been removed but that a “significant volume” still had to be examined.

Glasgow Labour MSP Pauline McNeill MSP will lead a debate on the impact of the fire at Holyrood this week. She said: “Local businesses tell me that they’re still experiencing problems with vehicle access and insurance claims, which is having a severe impact on their ability to trade. The delays to investigation is simply unacceptable.

“Local people need answers and, one year on, it’s staggering there is still no long-term plan for the area.”

Fire investigators did not gain access to the site until four months after the fire.

Glasgow Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins said: “On behalf of the people I represent, the businesses of Sauchiehall Street and displaced residents in Garnethill, it is very disappointing progress has been as slow as it has.”

Professor Alan Dunlop, a Scottish architect and academic, said the fire report should be made public and published in full once it is completed.

He said: “Previous reports on the 2014 fire were heavily redacted and therefore limited. A more open and transparent approach must be taken.”

Gordon Gibb, an architect and director of professional studies at GSA, said: “The Mack has many floor levels, all of which burned and collapsed on top of each other.

“Therefore, the Mack is much harder to investigate and will be hugely more challenging to restore.”

Notre Dame Cathedral has held its first service since fire devastated the Paris landmark two months ago with worshippers wearing construction workers’ helmets.

About 30 people were allowed to attend the mass yesterday afternoon, which was shown live on French TV and streamed worldwide.

The service held in a side chapel was conducted by Michel Aupetit, the archbishop of Paris, who also wore at hard hat as a safety measure.

French Culture Minister Franck Riester described the 856-year-old cathedral as being in a “fragile state” and that the vault “can still collapse”.

The service was expected to help draw attention back to the building with donations trickling in since the April 15 blaze.

French President Emmanuel Macron set a goal of rebuilding the cathedral in five years and almost £1 billion was promised in donations.

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