Former Gartsherrie Primary building destroyed by fire

A vacant former primary school in Coatbridge went up in flames on Sunday evening, with its roof being destroyed and plumes of thick smoke billowing into the sky.

Four fire crews including a high-reach appliance raced to the blaze at the old Gartsherrie Primary on Sunday evening, with firefighters still remaining at the scene today.

There were no casualties in the fire. Footage shared on social media shows the roof of the 120-year-old building on Gartsherrie Road having collapsed amid the flames.

Emergency services were first called at 7.45pm on June 9 as the flames took hold, with neighbouring residents being advised by police to keep windows and doors closed during the incident.

The main road was closed at Blair Road and Frederick Street as firefighters battled the flames.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service told Lanarkshire Live: “We were alerted to reports of a fire in a derelict building on Gartsherrie Road, Coatbridge.

“Operations Control mobilised three appliances and a high reach appliance to the scene. Crews remain in attendance.”

North Lanarkshire Council also confirmed that its staff are at the scene “to make sure it is safe and secure once emergency services have finished and concluded any investigations”.

The building has been vacant since the primary school shut in 2010, despite a long-running campaign by parents, as one of four closures in North Lanarkshire at that time prompted by reduced pupil rolls.

Fulton MacGregor, the Coatbridge MSP, called the devastating blaze “[a] sad night, especially for those with memories of attending school there”.

He posted on Facebook on Sunday evening: “The old Gartsherrie Primary is on fire and the roof has now totally collapsed. My thanks to the fire and rescue service and all other emergency services at the scene.

“I know how much this building means to those local to the area as well as wider Coatbridge. I’ll make some enquiries with the council and police to try and ascertain what has happened and next steps.”

Monica Lennon, the Central Scotland MSP, called the fire “devastating news” and said: “The former Gartsherrie Primary is a special place for so many in the local community.

“I am relieved that no-one was hurt in this terrible blaze, and I encourage nearby residents to continue to follow safety advice.

“The emergency services worked hard to get the incident under control as the fire ripped through the building; I join others in paying tribute to our police and fire services and hope that a full investigation will provide answers.”

Given C-listed building status 20 years ago, the sandstone former school building dates back to 1906 and was designed by “prolific and successful” Coatbridge architect James Davidson, who later became the town’s provost.

His work in Monklands also included Langloan and Calderbank primaries and the former Bargeddie Primary building which has now been converted into flats; plus the former Airdrie Savings Bank building in Coatbridge and the former Broomknoll parish church.

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