TWO devastating fires at neighbouring tenement blocks just five months apart have been called a “wake-up call” for the city.

On Wednesday afternoon crews were called to a blaze in a tenement building on Kenmure Street, in Pollokshields, where nine fire engines were needed to contain the flames.

It saw a repeat of similar scenes last November when fire ripped through a tenement block on Albert Drive, which later had to be demolished.

Glasgow Times:

READ MORE: Emergency services rush to Albert Drive blaze as fire tears from tenement building

Bill Fraser, of The Pollokshields Trust, said: “This confirms our worries about the state of the tenement stock in East Pollokshields.

 “People are under enough stress in the area without uncertainty about whether the buildings they are living in are safe.

“This is a real wake up call for the city that we can’t ignore any more.”

The fire-hit buildings are part of two of the corners of Albert Cross, one of the city’s fine Victorian crosses, and the oldest in Scotland.

Most of the tenement buildings there date from the 1850s.

In the 1970s and 1980s owners were given grants for repairs to the buildings but these were done quickly and cheaply, and were not designed to last.

Niall Murphy, deputy director of Glasgow City Heritage Trust, said: “A lot of these buildings need quite a bit of work done to them.

“As with other areas of the city, some tenements are factored and some aren’t and where they aren’t, no one is proactively maintaining their properties. What this is, really, is chickens coming home to roost.”

Glasgow Times: The previous Albert Drive fireThe previous Albert Drive fire

READ MORE: Pollokshields man who is in hospital after Albert Drive fire feared he would die before rescue

There is currently a Scottish Parliament working group looking at how best to care for ageing tenement stock.

One suggestion is that owners club together to create a management and maintenance plan for their building.

Mr Murphy added: “We need to think as a city about how we tackle these issues.

“Tenements are also not energy efficient so another big challenge, if Glasgow is to become a zero carbon city, is how we attend to that.” 

The previous fire was in November last year and residents who were displaced following the blaze have, it is understood, been told they will not be back in their homes until August.

That date will likely shift now given the stopping of building works due to the coronavirus lockdown.

Those living in the adjacent building to Wednesday’s fire have been moved elsewhere, which means the block between Glenapp Street and Kenmuir Street is now lying empty.  

It is understand that workmen were working on the roof of the building on the afternoon of the fire, having been seen in a crane.

There is no suggestion the work was linked to the fire. 

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council said: “At present, there’s nothing to suggest that this is anything other than a very unfortunate fire that coincidentally happened to occur close to a fire in another property around five months ago.”