Demolition of the disused St Mark’s Primary School in Glasgow’s East End will start on Saturday 26 May. The building was torched earlier this week and white asbestos revealed.
The clear-up operation is being handled by specialist contractors in the immediate area and around Tollcross Park where the suspect debris will be dealt with.
A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council said there was no immediate risk to public health. ‘Air quality is being monitored and is well within acceptable limits,’ he said. ‘The Council has written to residents in four streets beside the former school to give advice and explain how the clean-up is being done.’
Local people have been warned to leave all the clearing to the asbestos specialists and not to attempt to do any of the work themselves. In addition, residents have been asked not to cut hedges or lawns until work is complete and to limit use of their gardens. Plot holders at Tollcross Allotments have also been advised not to use their plots until the clear-up is complete.
The work will be carried out between 7am and 10pm each day until it is finished with atmospheric and ground level monitoring continuing till the completion of the job.
The process for removing the debris has been agreed with the Health & Safety Executive. The work is being carried out by specialist contractors – Hunter Demolition – and overseen by Glasgow City Council. Anyone finding material they are concerned about should not interfere with it, but notify Glasgow City Council immediately on 0141 287 0999.
The fire, which happened on Tuesday 22 May in the afternoon, was started deliberately. Strathclyde Police are appealing for information and ask people who can help to call 0141 532 4800 or, if they wish to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
The Blessed John Duns Scotus Chapel in the Gorbals has re-opened for worship, five years after a fallen candle sent it up in flames.
On Thursday 9 September nearly 400 people entered the new space to mark the re-opening with a mass celebrated by Archbishop Mario Conti.
The blaze started on 7 July 2005, the same day London’s transport system was targeted by suicide bombers. In the interim five years, the congregation have had to pray and take Mass in the adjoining church hall, leaving this space unusable for other events, restricting the church’s capacity for holding social events and raising funds.
Built in 1975, the church is the fusion of four parishes. The emergency set-up has been a real restraint on activity. The Franciscan congregation and Father Edmund, Church Guardian, have been rewarded for their patience and endurance.
The new chapel is a truly modern space, designed by Scottish architects Elder and Cannon, with windows stained blue, to represent, says Father Edmund, ‘Scotland, depending whose asking!’.
In one corner of the chapel, above electric candles - to avoid a repeat disaster - stands the same shrine to St Anthony, holding baby Jesus, that was burnt during the fire. The fire damage remains, to remind people of struggles past. The figure of Jesus stands on the Bible. ’This symbolises the written word becoming flesh’, explained Father Edmund.
Of the re-dedication, Father Edmund said: ‘It was a great celebration and it’s wonderful to be back in here. It was closed for five years and that is quite a long time.’
John Duns Scotus was born around 1265 in the East Coast of Scotland and is considered the greatest theologian of the English speaking world. He was beatified in 1993 by Pope John Paul II, the third of four steps toward canonization. The Gorbals church was the first in the world to take Blessed John Duns Scotus for its name.
The Blessed John Duns Scotus congregation will be attending the Pope’s visit to Glasgow this Thursday. The LOCAL NEWS will be there with them to give the people’s perspective of the Papal visit.
Langside Church is getting ready to be re-built after a fire destroyed part of the building in May 2009. Work is due to commence in mid April 2010 and scheduled for completion in September 2010. Minister David McLachlan explained that the new building, designed by architects CRGP, will offer more space than the previous incarnation. He said: “There will be a new glass structure at the front which will be used as a café, it will let lots more light into the building. And we will now have two floors, which will allow us to make better use of the space. The main space, the Sanctuary, will be rebuilt, and the internal structure of the remaining part will get new walls and floors.” Although the new building will have more internal space, it will only be three bricks higher than the old building and will appear to be almost the same as before. David said: “It used to be that for some events we would run out of space and had to bring in chairs for people, the new layout will mean that we can get more people in for big events.” The church has been holding services and activities in the David Cargill centre nearby while the building is out of action. David explained that they were afraid numbers might drop off during this time. “Our great fear was that numbers would drop off, but that’s not happened at all, adversity seems to have brought people together and numbers have maintained. There’s also an element of curiosity as well, people want to know what’s going on so they come along to the services to find out the news.“ The church will also be able to offer a wider range of services once the building is complete, they have even been offering class space to the nearby Langside College whilst they are undergoing building work.
Freezing cold is still holding us all in its icy grip, but fire is causing havoc of its own.
A fire in a pawn shop in Southcroft Street, Govan on Friday 9 January, caused people to flee from the four tenement flats above and an adjacent close. Strathclyde Fire & Rescue were alerted at 1pm and had the fire under control by 4pm. All the flats at 3 Southcroft Street and the shop interior were badly damaged. Initially two fire pumps from Pollok station, one from Govan – a few hundred yards along the road – and an aerial rescue pump from Cowcaddens were called out but the fire quickly spread up the building and into the roof space. Four other fire tenders were summoned and firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were inside the building at the height of the blaze.
Area Commander Garry Milne of the South Glasgow Area, said: ‘Our firefighters succeeded, in very difficult conditions, in stopping the fire from spreading to adjoining tenements. The street was very icy so the firefighters had to make sure of their footing outside the building.’
Seven households of Govan Housing Association properties and two private households were made homeless by the blaze. Some people stayed with relatives but the majority were accommodated in two city centre hotels for the weekend – including a dog. Some of the families returned to their homes in the close adjacent to the fire on Monday 11 January but the four families residing at 3 Southcroft Street will be found alternative accommodation as it will be some time before their flats can be made habitablen. Said Germaine.Hahn, Chief Executive of Govan Housing Association: ‘In order to be sure that no residual embers were still smoldering, the firefighters had to demolish an internal wall so there is substantial work to be done to the flats before they can be occupied again.’ Currently, because of the number of fires , the loss adjuster will not be able to assess the damage for some time. Added Ms Hahn: ‘A horrendous aspect of this is that none of the households appears to have had any insurance cover. It means they have lost everything.’
Four families will be found long-term accommodation by Govan Housing Association.
People who were made homeless a few days before Christmas when fire ravaged several floors at 83 Waddell Court, Gorbals, are still without a permanent home. One resident died: 61-year-old Thomas Smith. Four were treated at Victoria Infirmary for smoke inhalation. And 15 others were treated at the scene by paramedics.
More than 40 people were rescued when the blaze broke out around 3am on Wednesday 16 December. At the height of the blaze, 20 fire appliances were at the scene and 20 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were in action inside the building. The fire was brought under control around 7am and the eastbound lane of nearby Ballater Street was closed most of the day, causing severe traffic congestion. Tenants in all the 77 flats were moved from their homes and fed and accommodated at Gorbals Leisure Centre, next door.
Area Commander Garry Milne said: ‘In my 20-plus years in the fire service I have never seen such a fierce fire in a property such as this.’ The flat where the fire started was alleged to have collapsed.
Alex McGuire, Acting Director of Housing and Customer Services for Glasgow Housing Association which is responsible for the high flat bloc said: We are still waiting for the outcome of the fire investigation and are unable to comment on the cause of the fire or related matters until then.
‘The recent re-cladding works had full Building Warrant approval and the systems used have been fire tested and carry the appropriate certification. The cladding is not plastic.’ A total of 58 families have returned to their homes but 16 tenants cannot. Twelve of these tenants are living in temporary accommodation and four have chosen to stay with family and friends.’
‘Our priority continues to be getting families back into their homes as quickly as possible but only when it is safe to do so and once remedial repairs have been carried out.’
The safety of high flats is likely to be raised at the first meeting of the year for Glasgow Homes Owners Campaign on Thursday 21 January at 7pm in Jurys Hotel, Jamaica Street. Senior officials of GHA (Glasgow Housing Association) are expected to attend to give details of a longer pay-back time agreement for home owners who are obliged to have GHA as a factor and who have had their homes re-clad or re-roofed. Some face bills of £14,000 and were, initially, expected to pay within a year.
The 61-year-old man who died in a fire at a flat in Gorbals has been named as Thomas Smith.
Firefighters found Mr Smith’s body in a fourth-floor flat at 83 Waddell Court in the early hours of Wednesday after the blaze was extinguished.
Two women, aged 24 and 26, and two men, aged 31 and 37, were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation at Victoria Infimary. The 24-year-old woman and the 31-year-old man have been discharged.
Police and Strathclyde Fire & Rescue are continuing their investigations into the fire at the 77-flat block, although there do not appear to be any suspicious circumstances.
In Wednesday night, 21 families were allowed to return to their homes. The remainder spent the night in hotels, bed and breakfast or temporary furnished accommodation.
A GHA spokesman said: ‘GHA is pulling out all of the stops to help the families affected by yesterday’s tragic fire.
‘We were able to give 21 families access to their flats last night and a further 24 more today, although some chose to stay with family and friends.
‘Due to smoke and water damage to some properties, it is expected that a small number of tenants will not get access to their properties tonight.
‘GHA will continue to provide temporary accommodation and will do everything it can to ensure their comfort and wellbeing over this difficult period.’
A man has died and two other adults were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a fifth-floor maisonette flat in the Gorbals.
More than 40 people were rescued or escorted from their homes at 83 Waddell Court after fire crews were called to the block at around 3am on Wednesday morning.
Firefighters had to force their way into the property where the 61-year-old was found.
At the height of the blaze, 20 fire appliances were at the scene and 20 firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were in action inside the building.
The fire was brought under control at around 7am and the eastbound lane of nearby Ballater Street was closed until mid-morning.
Tenants who were moved from their homes were fed and accommodated at Gorbals Leisure Centre.
Area Commander Garry Milne, one of the officers in charge during the incident, said: ‘In my 20-plus years in the fire service I have never seen such a fierce fire in a property such as this.’
On Wednesday afternoon, Strathclyde Police, Fire & Rescue and council officials were planning contingency measures for the tenants at Waddell Court.
Glasgow Housing Association said the entire building, 77 flats, had been evacuated. The landlord hopes to have returned as many tenants to their homes as possible by Wednesday evening. Others will be moved to hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation or housed temporarily in furnished flats.
GHA’s Acting Director of Housing and Customer Services, Alex McGuire, said: ‘We are doing everything possible to help the families who are affected by the fire.
‘Investigations by Strathclyde Fire & Rescue and Strathclyde Police are continuing. Some of the homes have suffered fire and smoke damage and others have been affected by water damage.
‘Until inquiries are complete and properties are habitable a number of tenants will be unable to return to their homes.
‘We will put these families up in alternative accommodation and do everything we can to ensure their comfort and well-being.
‘GHA and other agencies are co-operating fully with the investigation.’