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New University of Nottingham research facility destroyed by fire

ByJodie Stempel

Sep 23, 2014
image courtesy of BBC

A new £12 million state of the art chemistry research centre at the   University of Nottingham was destroyed recently after it caught fire under unidentified circumstances.

The fire is believed to have begun at 8:30pm on the evening of Friday 12th September with sixty-five firefighters managing to contain the fire after five hours and no injuries or casualties reported at the scene.

The cause of the fire is yet to be confirmed, with no indication from police and fire service investigators on whether it was a result of accidental circumstances or whether criminal parties may have been involved in setting off the blaze.

Emma Thorne, Media Relations Manager for the University of Nottingham, told The Student: “We have been in contact with the Nottingham Fire Service and the cause is still unknown.”

“It might take weeks or months before experts will be able to officially announce the source of the fire.

“We are extremely grateful to the Nottingham Fire Service for their support and their success in containing the fire.”

The Carbon Neutral Laboratory, intended as a carbon neutral sustainable facility, was the first of its kind made from natural materials and its construction was believed to be 100 per cent sustainable. It was also designed was to source most of its energy from renewable sources and sustainable bio fuels, with the mainly wooden shell of the building being pointed to by experts as a potential cause for the spread of the fire.

The development of the building was principally funded by a £12 million grant issued by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), with the intention to promote research in sustainable chemistry.

According to the University of Nottingham press office, the building was two-thirds of the way to completion, with construction due to finish early next year.

Thorne said, “It is still early days to determine whether we will re-build the GSK building.

However, the University is committed to the importance of sustainable development and the proposed research to be undertaken in this facility.”

The fire at the GSK building was the largest blaze the Nottingham area has encountered in several decades.

This incident, however, did not deter the rest of the university from carrying on its everyday work with university officials keen to stress that teaching and research would not be affected, and the University’s scheduled Open Day on Saturday September 13 able to proceed as normal.

On the University of Nottingham website, Vice-Chancellor David Greenaway said: “As for the future, the building has gone, but the vision has not.

“We have appointed three new Professors and new teams; we have an outstanding School of Chemistry; we have the ongoing commitment of our partners to deliver this vision.

“It may now take a bit longer, but it will still be delivered.”

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