Glasgow School of Art was set for sprinkler system

Glasgow School of Art was set for sprinkler system

THE LISTED building recently caught fire after a previous blaze in 2014, with sprinklers not fitted after the last fire but set to have been at the time of the second.

The Guardian reported that sprinklers ‘had not been fitted’ after the first fire at the Mackintosh Library in the building, which was ‘almost entirely destroyed by fire’ in May 2014. A spokesperson for the British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association (BAFSA) stated at first that ‘it was understood’ that automatic sprinklers had not been fully fitted due to the building undergoing refurbishment’.

BAFSA added that ‘however, it should be realised that sprinklers can be fitted in buildings throughout construction on a temporary basis, as there is a considerable risk from fire during this period’, with the blaze requiring over 120 firefighters and 20 appliances, and spreading to two neighbouring music venues.

The previous fire began when flammable gases from a foam canister were ignited accidentally, with a Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) report concluding in that case that old ventilation ducts had helped the spread into neighbouring studios and upwards throughout the building. Paul Sweeney, Scottish MP for Glasgow North East, ‘echoed the concerns’ of BAFSA, stating that ‘I was rather surprised at the lack of active fire prevention patrols at the building. In hindsight, there should have been much more done’.

BBC News later spoke to BAFSA again, who confirmed that a suppression system was ‘close to being activated’ for use when the second fire occurred. Pumps that were needed for a watermist system ‘had arrived on site the day before the blaze’, though BAFSA pointed out that ‘it would have taken weeks to complete the installation’, according to chief executive Keith MacGillivray.

He stated: ‘The pumps for the fire suppression system were there at the school of art the day before the fire. They are very large pumps so they were delivered in component parts. It would have taken some weeks to reassemble the pumps and connect up the pipe work and obviously the water tanks would have had to be connected and put in place as well. Everything would also would have had to be tested thoroughly before being made operational.’