Scottish firefighters are still battling a massive blaze that broke out in the Glasgow School of Art today, threatening to destroy one of the country's most iconic buildings, as well some of the work inside. Luckily, no injuries have been reported.
The fire was apparently started by a projector which exploded in the basement of the school's Charles Rennie Mackintosh building soon after noon, according to the BBC. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service reported that it was working with school staff to try to salvage significant works of art that are stored in the building. The extent of the damage is not yet clear.
Seniors in the building were getting ready for their end of year degree show, which was slated to take place in the building. One second-year student told the BBC that "I was helping one of the fourth years set up their exhibit and suddenly the alarm went off. We didn't think it was anything but we had to go out and then we saw smoke coming out and realized that it was really bad." He added of the students' work, "all that effort is gone, everyone's work on that side of the building is ruined. Even if it didn't catch fire it will be damaged extensively. The degree show next month is pretty much bust now, it's sad."
Many contemporary British artists studied at the school, which also serves as a major tourist attraction. The incident is a devastating one for the artistic community:
Loss of the Glasgow School of Art is tragic but the years of student work that is destroyed is devastating. #gsoa— Cameron Sinclair (@casinclair) May 23, 2014
"I never thought I could feel so emotional over a building." Mumsnetters react to Glasgow School of Art fire: http://t.co/69oP9NKbea— Mumsnet (@MumsnetTowers) May 23, 2014
Glasgow School of Art board of trustees chair Muriel Gray issued a statement on the sad event, saying:
Today is a really black one for the GSA, but I cannot thank the fire brigade enough for the speed with which they came and their commitment to contain and extinguish the fire. Fortunately there have been no fatalities or injuries. I am so proud of the staff and students and how everyone has pulled together. We are thankful to all the Glaswegians who turned up to comfort students and to friends from across the world for their messages of support.
Iain Connelly, president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, said "It is too early to talk about what happens now, but the architectural profession in Scotland will do anything it can to help in any way." We'd be surprised if other organizations don't follow suit.