Historic theatre saved after firefighters face 'massive' inferno in Glasgow city centre

Auslan Cramb

Firefighters have saved some "iconic" buildings in the centre of Glasgow, including the 114-year-old Pavilion Theatre, after tackling a "massive blaze" in the city's Sauchiehall Street.

More than 120 firefighters were involved in containing the fire as local residents were urged to say indoors due to the possible presence of asbestos in the dense smoke.

Several buildings had to be evacuated and local residents were advised to keep their windows closed at the height of the operation.

Assistant Chief Officer Lewis Ramsay praised the firefighters who faced an "inferno" when they entered the building where the fire started and said they had carried out some "really aggressive firefighting".

He added: "It was a really complicated fire with an extensive fire spread, spreading across a number of older tenement-style buildings.

"I am delighted to say we have managed to contain it within the block that was affected and more importantly we have managed to protect and save some iconic premises round about, most notably the Pavilion Theatre. I can't tell you how relieved I am no-one was injured."

Firefighters tackling a major blaze in the centre of Glasgow Credit: PA

The fire is thought to have started at around 8.20am in the upper floors of a building on the shopping thoroughfare.

Photos on social media showed smoke billowing from shop fronts opposite the former British Home Stores building.

Witnesses said the fire was spreading Credit: Alamy

The well-known nightspot occupies the upper floors of the property and flames could be seen in the roof.

One onlooker said: "It's a massive blaze and it appears to be spreading. The amount of smoke is quite incredible."

Firefighters were also spotted gaining entry to the nearby Pavilion Theatre. Iain Gordon, general manager of the theatre, at one point expressed concern that the flames could "leap across the lane".

 

He added: "Our problem at the moment will be smoke damage because it's gone right into the side of the building. We are very concerned. The building has been there for a long time and is a major part of Glasgow."

The scene in the centre of Glasgow Credit: PA

Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister, said the incident appeared to be "extremely serious" and praised the firefighters tackling the "extremely challenging" blaze.

Hope Street was closed to all traffic between Bath Street and Renfrew Street, with Renfield Street also closed between Renfrew Street and Bath Street while emergency services dealt with the incident.

An SFRS spokesman said: "The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was alerted at 8.18am to reports of a well-developed fire which had taken hold within the roof space of a commercial premises.

"Operations control mobilised a number of fire engines to Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, where firefighters are currently on the scene working to extinguish the fire.

"Crews have safely evacuated the occupants of several nearby properties."