University of Nottingham fire cause investigated

View of fire from Triumph Road Tyres Image copyright Triumph Road Tyres
Image caption The building was in Triumph Road on the Jubilee Campus

Fire investigators say it is too soon to know the cause of a blaze that destroyed a multimillion-pound university building.

The University of Nottingham laboratory was largely made of wood and was designed to be carbon neutral.

Paul Greatrix, the university's registrar, said the irony of it burning down had not been lost.

But he said the university would "no doubt recover" from the fire, which started on Friday evening.

In a blog post he thanked staff, students, and fire services from both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

"It was the quick action of their fire crews which prevented this incident from being much more serious," he wrote.

"To put this loss into perspective, we need to remember that this was one building, that thankfully no one was injured and that the fire was prevented from spreading further on to campus."

Image caption Charred remains of the laboratory landed on the roof of a nearby building
Image copyright University of Nottingham
Image caption It was called the GlaxoSmithKline Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline contributed £12m to the building.

The shell had been completed, and photos were due to be taken this week.

It was due to open next year, but Dr Greatrix said teaching or research will not be affected "in the immediate future".

'Lots of questions'

Sir David Greenaway, the university's vice-chancellor, toured the building on 6 August and said it was "elegant, innovative and bold".

In a blog post he wrote: "There are lots of questions to be answered: how this fire started; why it spread so quickly; why the devastation was so total."

Image caption The laboratory collapsed into a smouldering heap in under five hours
Image caption Planning to rebuild the laboratory has already begun

John Mills from Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire had caused a "scene of devastation".

"I have to emphasise the investigation is at, obviously, the early stage at the moment," he said.

"It's a considerable job that's ahead of us."

He said a fire dog - which is able to sniff out accelerants - was helping.

Image copyright PA
Image caption At its height the blaze could be see from several miles away, officials reported
Image copyright Sam Bradley
Image caption The fire was brought under control in the early hours of Saturday

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