Second Fire almost Destroys the Glasgow School of Art

Fire blazes through the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building on 16 June 2018. ‘The heart of Glasgow’s Mackintosh legacy has been ripped away.’ Photograph: Scottish Fire Service Handout/EPA (theguardian.com)

A ferocious fire has devastated – probably destroying the 50 percent irreparably – the School of Art, a masterpiece by the Scottish architect Rennie Mackintosh. The building was famous because, together with works by Victor Horta, Henry Van de Velde, Adolf Loos and the American Louis Sullivan, represented a peak of that style that marked the passage from nineteenth-century eclecticism to modernity, functionalism and even twentieth century rationalism. Continue reading “Second Fire almost Destroys the Glasgow School of Art”

Citè de la Science: 120 Firefighters in Paris to extinguish a Museum Fire

Paris firefighters on August 20th 2015 have fought a fire at the Cite des Sciences. The fire broke out between 02:30 and 03:00 local time in a building that was undergoing work, and has been fought by some 30 fire trucks and 120 firefighters.

Six floors of the museum have been impacted by the blaze, which took five hours to be brought under control.

Many Parisians took to social media to report the smell and seeing plumes of smoke. The building was empty when the fire started.
Wooden pallets, cardboard boxes, plasterbloard, electrical cables have been burning,and the heat was so fierce that firefighting teams were only able to work for 20 minutes at a time before having to be rotated. One of the firefighters was hospitalized with extreme heat exposure while the other suffered light injuries from smoke inhalation.

The complex draws around five million people a year and comprises four huge cube-shaped buildings.

The fire occurred in a 10,000-square metre cube that was being fitted out for shops, and was due to open on October 15. Smoke and flames damaged the area ravaging a 110-million-euro plan to turn the building into an area for shops.

The fire alarm system was not operational because of the works.

The Citè de la Science et de l’industrie complex is one of the biggest science museums in Europe.

Fire in church during renovation works in Lucca (Italy)

A fire occurred in one of the major monuments in Lucca, the Guinigi chapel within the complex of San Francesco. The building dates from the second half of the 300 and it was subject to restoration and modernization works. The smoke has completely blackened medieval frescoes and decorations.
According to a reconstruction, the first flames have started when the workers engaged in the construction of a ventilation system, had just started to weld two sleeves of polyurethane tubing that is approximately 80 cm in diameter by an electric welder. Probably, on this occasion there was a short circuit. The same workers have tried to stop the fire by closing the vents of the ventilation system, then tried to extinguish the fire with extinguishers but the flames were too high and the air no more breathable.
In a short time, fire and smoke have saturated the whole chapel blacking out the plaster beneath which lie the fourteenth-century decor. Two teams of firefighters have prevented the flames from reaching the other rooms of the museum complex

guinigi lucca 1On December 27th, 2010 a fire occurred in one of the major monuments in Lucca, the Guinigi chapel within the complex of San Francesco. The building dates from the second half of the 300 and it was subject to restoration and modernization works. The smoke has completely blackened medieval frescoes and decorations.

According to a reconstruction, the first flames have started when the workers engaged in the construction of a ventilation system, had just started to weld two sleeves of polyurethane tubing that is approximately 80 cm in diameter by an electric welder. Probably, on this occasion there was a short circuit. The same workers have tried to stop the fire by closing the vents of the ventilation system, then tried to extinguish the fire with extinguishers but the flames were too high and the air no more breathable.

In a short time, fire and smoke have saturated the whole chapel blacking out the plaster beneath which lie the fourteenth-century decor. Two teams of firefighters have prevented the flames from reaching the other rooms of the museum complex.

According to first assessments, damages reach 100.000 euros.

Philips Collection Fire – Washington DC (USA)

aOn September 2, 2010, a fire started on the roof of the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and it has been extinguished, with no injuries reported and no  serious damage to artworks. The artworks  could have incurred significant damage in the fire, which was “renovation-related.”

The blaze, which had erupted at about 8:30 a.m., was put out by a combination of the museum’s sprinkler system and responding firemen, but with limited water damage on all floors.

The fire was restricted to the collection’s building that served as the institution’s original home. After the fire has been extinguished, museum staff has moved  artworks from the mansion into the adjacent Goh Annex.

The collection has been evacuated and closed after the fire spread smoke through the building. Fire alarms went off at the building around 8:30 a.m. .

The cause is still under investigation, but the building is under renovation and investigators believe welding work may be the culprit.

Automatic sprinklers were set off on all four floors of the museum, containing the fire which was then extinguished by firefighters.

The building sustained moderate water damage on all four floors, with the top two sustaining moderate smoke damage.

About 50 firefighters were at the gallery.

The museum currently holds some 3,000 artworks, primarily American and European.

Fire at Restoration Center in Moscow (Russia)

1On July 21, 2010, a blaze has killed two firefighters in a Moscow restoration center. Several paintings and icons stored on the third floor of the Igor Grabar Restoration Center were lost in a fire too. Such paintings, icons and other artifacts from the 17th to the 19th centuries were stored at the Grabar pending restoration. The blaze, which lasted for two hours, covered an area of 2,000 m2.

Paintings and icons survived the fire are feared to be irretrievably lost due to water damage. Art works not affected by the fire could suffer damage from the large amount of water used by firemen to control the fire, since water can inevitably lead to the appearance of mould on paintings and icons. An accurate assessment of the damage to the artworks at the centre from the fire could only be determined after a full inventory of the remaining assets. The fire could run into hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of roubles. A single icon is considered 12 mln euros worth.

Twenty fire companies responded to the scene on Thursday and four helicopters dumped water on hot spots in the building 104 times.

The cause of the fire is  unknown but there’s the suspect the fire started where restoration specialists were working at the facility or welding crew were working in the interior of the center.


Fire destroys 17th century Painting in Venice Church (Italy)

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On May 4, 2010, a deposit of building materials caught fire outside the church of Santa Maria dei Derelitti in Venice. At approximately 4.30 a.m., the flames penetrated into the building through a window and destroyed a painting (oil on panel) by Antonio Molinari dated second half of 1600. The flames did not propagate to other parts of the church but some damages were reported to paintings by Giovan Battista Tiepolo and other artists as well as artifacts that had been saved by firefighters.

Burnt building materials were used in the construction of a gas pipes in the nearby road.

The ceiling frescoes by Giuseppe Cherubini were damaged as well as the original 18th-century pipe organ. At the moment it is not known if the other damaged paintings in the church can be restored

Restoration works will require a long period of time and the church will remain closed because it will be necessary to disassemble the organ and individually clean each one of the organ pipes.

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Fire of the Dome of St. Petersburg Cathedral (Russia)

2On August 25, 2006 the domes of the landmark 19th-century Trinity Cathedral were all but destroyed in a blaze that erupted at the top of the stately building. The cause of the fire was not immediately known, but acting St. Petersburg emergency department chief Leonid Belyayev said the blaze apparently started on scaffolding on the outside of the church, which was undergoing restoration. The most valuable icons and other items had been saved, and that structural damage beneath the roof area was minor.
The fire hit the 19th-century cathedral in St. Petersburg early at 5 p.m., bringing down the main cupola atop the majestic church in Russia’s former Imperial capital. All icons and other valuables were safely removed from the cathedral to be deposited partially in the Hermitage, and partially at the Alexander Nevsky Lavra (Monastery).
The damage wreaked by the fire is estimated at over 1.6 million rubles, according to preliminary calculations.
Trinity Cathedral was built between 1828 and 1835 to a design by Vasily Stasov. The main dome of the cathedral was the second-largest wooden cupola in Europe. Writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky was married there. The building was used as a storehouse during the Soviet era and was returned to the Russian Orthodox Church in 1990. The cathedral is included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Berlin Philarmonic Fire (Germany)

aOn 20 may, 2008, a blaze broke out beneath the roof of the building over the main concert hall of the Berlin Philarmonic, which seats 2,440 and is famed for its extraordinary acoustics. There were no injuries.

The fire was located in an interior area between the insulated ceiling and the metal skin of the roof  and it is believed to have been a combination of roof materials such as insulation, wood and tar paper was on fire. A room containing technical equipment was located beneath the spot.

The fire broke out when 400 people were letting the building and an hour before 700 people were due to start rehearsing for a series of weekend concerts being directed by Claudio Abbado.

One-quarter of the roof underwent considerable damage as firefighters cut openings to reach the flames beneath the roof. The cause of the fire was attributed to welding work, and no serious damage was caused either to the structure or interior of the building. Initial reports, in particular, indicated that welding work which had been carried out earlier in the week was to blame for the fire, which broke out shortly after the end of a lunchtime concert. It is thought that sparks from welding tools set light to insulation material in the roof and had subsequently set fire to the VIP box

Musicians rushed to save about 50 “priceless” instruments (most of them string instruments), that were removed before fire could damage them.

The Quebec City Armouries Fire (Canada)

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On April 5, 2008, the Quebec City Armouries, a Gothic Revival drill hall in Quebec City, Canada (built between 1885 and 1888 and designed by architect Eugène-Étienne Taché) was destroyed by a fire  and all but a rear wall and turrets from the front door were destroyed.

The most all of the archives stored at the Quebec City armoury were spared by a fire that gutted the historic building. A museum in the amoury which housed various artifacts from the regiment was also lost in the fire. Though, officials estimate 90 percent of the artifacts were saved due to efforts by members of the regiment and local firefighters.

The armoury wooden roof was one of the largest in Canada and it was undergoing renovations

Calls have been made by politicians to rebuild the armoury,to which the federal government has responded positively by allocating $2 million for reconstruction planning.

16th century Building Fire in Bologna (Italy)

1On August 8th, 2007, a fire due to renovation works has severely damaged the historical Bologna’s building Palazzo Albergati.

In the early afternoon of a hot day, workers who were installing roof caulking have called firefighters after having tried to tackle the fire with a fire extinguisher, due to the sparkles  or the open flames generated during the works.

Firefighters have used ladders and an helicopter.

In the building, where several professional office were hosted, there were 18th century furniture and frescoes. Damages  have been recorded also to archive and computer of the offices.

700 years old Church Fire in Bistrita (Romania)

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Image released into the public domain by its author, Muzsi Endre-Előd.

The 700-year-old Evangelist church in the city of Bistrita in Romania’s Transylvania region burned  June 11, 2008 during renovation works. According to official sources the church’s main spire, which at 75 meters (247-feet) is the highest in Transylvania, collapsed during the blaze.

The church is the main attraction of Bistriţa’s central square. It was built by the Transylvanian Saxons and originally constructed in the 14th century in Gothic style but later remodeled between 1559–1563 by Petrus Italuswith Renaissance features. It was re-renovated in 1998.
The reasons of the fire are yet unknown.