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The fire which spread through the Mackintosh Building of Glasgow Art School in May this year was devastating. The much-loved historic building, which housed the Mackintosh Library, is an iconic part of Scotland's arts history.

Much of the west wing of the building was damaged as a result of the incident.

An official report from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service found that the fitting of a fire alarm system, which may have prevented the blaze from spreading, was delayed due to the discovery of asbestos within the building's structure.

The fire suppression system was only nearing completion when asbestos fibres were found, prompting a two-week delay in the installation process.

If it weren't for the stoppage, the suppression system would have been in place when the blaze took hold on the 23rd of May.

Many safety measures were already in place to protect the school from fire. The suppression system would have supported existing fire precautions by dispensing a continuous fine mist over flames.

Sadly, the structure of the building was a factor in the fire's spread. Timber-lined walls quickly became engulfed in flames, while vents and air ducts assisted the fire's progression to other floors of the building.

The BBC has reported the blaze was initiated when gases from a spray can, used during the creation of an artwork, came into contact with a projector. Heat from the projector caused the gases to ignite.

Asbestos exposure can cause serious illness, including industrial diseases such as mesothelioma, and so it is imperative that workers and users of the building are protected from coming into contact with the substance.

The building is now in the process of repair, although it is unknown when it will be re-opened to staff and pupils.

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