University of Nottingham fire-hit chemistry lab to be rebuilt

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Media captionThe blaze could be see from several miles away at its peak. Simon Ward reports

A multi-million pound university building that was "completely destroyed" in a major fire will be rebuilt, officials have said.

About 60 firefighters tackled the blaze, which tore through the unfinished University of Nottingham chemistry laboratory, on Friday night.

The Jubilee Campus building, in Triumph Road, Radford, was due to open next year.

It had been partly funded with £12m from Drug firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

No-one was injured and no other buildings were affected as crews worked through the night to make the area safe.

Fire investigators and police are set to start examining the scene to establish what caused the blaze.

Image caption Fire crews dampened down the remains of the building using an aerial platform

University registrar Paul Greatrix described the building's destruction as a "setback" but vowed it would be rebuilt.

He said the innovative project was to be "the world's first carbon neutral lab", and would be home to work aimed at "fundamentally changing how we do chemistry in a more sustainable way".

The shell of the building had been finished, but no work had taken place inside, according to the university.

"[The fire] was scary to say the least and the fire service did amazingly well to contain it," Mr Greatrix said.

Image caption Fire crews were praised for their swift action in tacking the blaze

"Fortunately, and most importantly, nobody was hurt or injured."

The labs, described as state-of-the-art by the university, have been designed for use by teams of top research academics.

Mr Greatrix said: "Work here would have been looking at the basic processes of chemistry and doing it in a clean and green way."

However, he added thoughts would now turn to getting the project back off the ground.

Image copyright PA
Image caption At its height the blaze could be see from several miles away, officials reported

Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue group manager Joanne Wooler-Ward paid credit to the crews at the scene "who pulled out all the stops to prevent this fire spreading".

She said: "The firefighters have worked hard to contain that fire and stop it from spreading to any other buildings.

"Members of the public might have been quite alarmed when they heard a loud bang that some thought was an explosion, but that's something which happens to buildings when they're exposed to extreme heat and pressure."

Image copyright Sam Bradley
Image caption The fire was brought under control in the early hours of Saturday

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