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Fireworks clue to uni blaze.

FIRE investigators were last night probing claims that fireworks started a blaze that wrecked a 100-year-old university building.

It's estimated that repairs to Glasgow University's Bower Building, home to the botany department, will cost pounds 5million and that books and equipment worth pounds 3.5million were destroyed.

The fire started in roof space of the building, on University Avenue in the city's West End, at 1.30pm.

More than 40 students and staff working inside all escaped unhurt. Hundreds more from neighbouring buildings were also evacuated as a precaution.

University Avenue was sealed off for over an hour as around 70 firemen fought the fire, which destroyed the roof.

Although the cause of the blaze is not yet clear, some students reported hearing fireworks shortly before it started.

The Bower Building, named after botanist Frederick Orpen Bower, was opened in June 1901 and housed one of Britain's first biological laboratories.

University Principal Sir Graeme Davies revealed it was due for a pounds 3.5million refurbishment later this year.

He added: "The damage is considerable to the fabric of the building but we are fortunate major research equipment for the faculty is not stored there."

He said the destroyed items could all be replaced with the exception of a set of rare 19th-century plant books.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 25, 2001
Words:214
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