Hydro Arena blaze was caused by a welder’s torch, an investigation has revealed

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A HUGE blaze at Glasgow’s Hydro Arena was caused by a welder’s torch setting fire to insulation, an official investigation has confirmed.
The 8 June fire took hold as the 12,000-seat stadium was still under construction, and led to fears the project to finish the building would be derailed.
A Scottish Fire Service investigation found a welder working on a gutter running round the building noticed “ignited material” dropping onto insulation below, which started the blaze.
The blaze saw nine fire crews called to the scene after 3pm on the day, launching a five-hour operation to battle the fire and secure the arena.
The report concluded the fire, which caused up to £5million in damage, was started accidentally.
It said: “Hot work (welding) was being carried out on the aluminium gutter and to various bolt holes (welded up) along the roof line.
“The contractor (welder) stopped work on smelling smoke and went to investigate the source.
“He stated that there was ignited material dropping down onto the Ecofacade Membrane assembly directly below from between the outside of the gutter and the metal frame that holds it in position.
“The item ignited first was the material around the welded bolt holes on the outside of the gutter; this in turn dropped down and ignited the Ecofacade Membrane assembly and spread round the periphery of the structure.”
The fire spread around around the periphery of the building, igniting “timber planks” on scaffolding, the report said.
The report noted: “The most severe damage occured to the area of the building just below roof level at approximately 25 – 40m above ground level.”
One firefighter who attended the scene said there was a “commotion” as fire crews tried to enter the site as workers were leaving
One firefighter noted: “On arrival at the incident, approximately 50m of the periphery of the roof was well alight in the northwest area.”
Tests the fire service carried out on the Ecofade Membrane later in June showed it caught fire after being exposed to flame for “15/20 seconds.”
Speaking in July last year, SECC chief executive John Sharkey estimated the fire caused  up to £5million in damage, and admitted getting the building ready before Rod Stewart’s opening gig on 30 September would be a “hairy journey.”
He said: “We were looking to complete by the end of August. We then had the fire on June 8.

“Whereas we had a bit of leeway, we are (now) going to be absolutely to the wire in getting the building open on time.”

The £125million arena, which had been under construction since 2011, was able to open in time for the gig.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue spokeswoman said: “We are always keen to highlight that fires can start anywhere and at any time. In the construction industry there are potential hazards that may result in afire.
“Site health and safety rules are developed to reduce those risks but vigilance is key.
“In the event of fire breaking out the most important thing to do is get out of the danger area, stay out and call the fire service on 999 as quickly as possible.”
Asked to  if any action would be taken in light of the report, an SECC spokeswoman said: “It was an insurance matter which has now been resolved.”

 

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