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 (

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”

Historic Hereford pub destroyed by fire


A 15th Century pub has been gutted in a fire    which spread through a historic part of        Hereford city centre.

More than 100 firefighters were called to the High  Town area, where Booth Hall was engulfed in  flames.

Police said an electrical fault was believed to have  caused the fire, which broke out at about 0425 BST.

Three four-storey buildings containing River Island, Card Factory, Ann Summers and a mobile phone shop were also badly damaged, the fire service said.

The Booth Hall site, which dates back to 1392 and became a pub in the 15th Century, is a separate building.

Twenty fire engines were called to the scene and the area affected measured about 100m by 80m, the fire service said.

The head of policy and education at the chamber of commerce, said the fire was going to have “a major impact” on trading.

He said: “People will avoid the town centre today and this will affect the surrounding businesses who have managed to open.

“The impact in the medium term is unknown at the moment as it will depend on the severity of the fire and how long businesses are required to close.”

The council pledged support to local businesses affected by the fire by helping them to find alternative suitable premises.

The economic development team was scouring the city to identify potential properties for temporary or permanent occupation.


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.

Titian painting damaged during Fire in Venice Church (Italy)

bOn august 29th 2010, at 10 p.m., a fire has started at the roof level of the building near the Venice Salute Church. The fire, which could be an arson (witnesses have heard two explosions and the fire started in two different points), spread immediately to the roof of the church. Firefighters have used large amounts of water to limit the spread of the blaze, in order to avoid the collapse of the roofs of the rooms of the church.

In few hours the fire has been extinguished.

The morning after the fire, the Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) painting “Davide and Goliath” has been removed from its location (in a room directly connected to the church main hall) in order to limit damages due to water used by firefigthers.

The roof of the Santa Maria della Salute Church, threatened by the fire, is considered one of the most remarkable in Venice.

In the recent years firefigthers have started using to extinguish fires water from the new city fire hydrant system. Such water is much less aggressive than the lagoon water, used until few years ago and it has limited damages to the painting.

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.

Fire at Manezh Exhibition Center in Moscow (Russia)

image from: wikimedia commons
image from: wikimedia commons

On March 14, 2004, a fire broke out in at the Manezh exhibition hall in Moscow. The historic building (built in 1817) has been almost completely destroyed by fire and two firefighters have been killed as the huge roof of the exhibition hall caved in. The fire could have been caused by a powerful ejection of thermal energy created with the help of flammable liquids or pyrotechnic materials, even if it’s very difficult to prove such theory. The giant hall (about 7,500 m2 – 166 meters long and 45 meters wide) with a self-supporting roof was considered a great breakthrough in construction techniques. Originally meant for military exercises, reviews and parades, it later housed exhibitions and was used for public exhibitions.

The fire started at the Manezh and spread across the entire building very quickly. At 21:00 on Sunday, the guards of the exhibition center walked around the building, and none of them smelt smoke. Fourteen minutes later, a traffic police officer reported a large fire in the upper floor of the Manezh.

The attic and the roof of the building were built of wood, and, in principle, they could burn quickly,but it is difficult to set them on fire. The floor of the attic was made of 40mm thick wooden planks and it was protected with fire-resistant materials three years ago, so investigators gave up all the three initial theories – cigarette, short circuit and firework.

Fire at Zurich Carpenters’ Guildhouse cause death of Firefighter

z A Firefighter died of his injuries when the roof of the 14th century Zunfthaus (the carpenters’ guildhouse) in the centre of Zurich collapsed during a fire. The fire alarm was raised at 23:28 on Wednesday, 15th November 2007.

Firefighters first prevented the spread of fire from the four-storey building to neighbouring buildings, then entered to extinguish the fire. Unfortunately the roof collapsed, causing fatal injuries to one firefighter. Firefighters worked through the night to contain it and prevent it from spreading to neighboring buildings, but the bulding was pretty much destroyed. Seven other firefighters suffered minor injuries.