Glasgow School of Art Fire


The report findings are 48 pages long; this is a brief excerpt:

As part of their final assessment, students were exhibiting work in a degree show. The room had a high fire loading including timber panelling, furniture, and books. A working projector was located in the display area with expanded foam panels positioned behind. The fire was caused when flammable gas used as a propellant within a canister of expanding polyurethane foam was discharged in close proximity to the projector. Flammable gases used as a propellant in the expanding foam canister were drawn into the projector and ignited, most probably by energised electrical components.

A sprinkler system was being installed however it was not operational. Attempts were made to extinguish the fire with a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher however; this has little effect due to rapid fire growth involving the foam covered walls. The foam then became totally involved in fire producing further flammable gases and thick black carbon rich smoke. The alarm was raised and staff ensured all persons in the immediate area evacuated.

The construction, layout, and high fire loading meant the room contents became totally involved in fire. A major contributory factor for the fire spreading throughout the building was the number of timber lined voids and obsolete ventilation ducts running both vertically and horizontally throughout the building. Hot gases and smoke would have travelled unchecked up the voids vertically and horizontally affecting other floors of the building.

For more information: