Cause of blaze in biomedical sciences building still unknown

A fire that started yesterday at the University of St Andrews, UK, appears to have caused significant damage to chemistry and biology labs housed in the university’s biomedical sciences building.

In a statement, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said it was alerted to reports of a fire ‘involving suspected hazardous materials’ just before 5pm on 10 February. Efforts to extinguish the fire involved eight vehicles and over 30 firefighters, it added. Posts on social media suggest the fire began in a lab on the third floor, and footage of the blaze shows flames and smoke coming from several windows. There have been no reported injuries.

The university tweeted that now the fire is out its priorities are site safety and the clean-up operation. It also said it had been ‘inundated’ with offers of help and thanked those who had reached out.

The extent of damage caused by the fire – and its likely impacts on research at the university – have not yet been fully assessed. St Andrews says the four-storey building houses chemistry and biology labs conducting medically-focused research in organic and synthetic chemistry, virology and microbiology.