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Update: Balfour project damaged by fire at Bristol University

Balfour Beatty’s £20m refurbishment of Bristol University’s Fry Building was damaged by a fire on Saturday night.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service were called to a fire at the 137-year-old Grade II-listed building shortly after 5pm on Saturday evening. No injuries have been reported.

On Monday afternoon Avon Fire & Rescue concluded its investigation, saying the fire was accidental and caused by the refurbishment works.

Avon Fire & Rescue Service group manager Steve Quinton said: “We know that refurbishment works were being carried out in the roof on Saturday afternoon, which we believe has led to the accidental fire starting.”

He added: ”The extent of the damage at Fry Building means we will never be able to identify exactly where the fire started, but we are satisfied it started accidentally as a result of the works taking place that day.”

The fire service said that damage from the blaze had been confined the roof and the top floor of the building.

A Balfour Beatty spokesperson said: 

“We fully assisted Avon Fire & Rescue in their investigation and note their findings.

”Our own comprehensive investigation remains ongoing with a view to establishing the cause of the fire and therefore it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time.

We are working closely with the University of Bristol to get the project back on track.”

Saturday’s fire led to students and staff being evacuated from the nearby Wills Memorial Library and other buildings. The fire was extinguished by 8:30pm that evening.

A spokesperson for Balfour Beatty said earlier today that everyone had been accounted for and that “the safety of the public and our workforce is always our primary concern”.

A spokesperson for the university told Construction News that further assessment of the damage would be carried out over the coming days.

Balfour Beatty started renovation work on the building in September 2015, with the aim of delivering a state-of-the-art new maths department.

When CN visited the site in April last year, a Balfour Beatty project director emphasised the difficulty of carrying out the job in a confined space on a functioning campus.

Bristol University Fry Building_Jan 2018 fire_Balfour Beatty 1

Bristol University Fry Building_Jan 2018 fire_Balfour Beatty 1



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