A CHURCH in the west end of Glasgow has been gutted by fire.

Footage posted online at St Simon's Church in Partick's Bridge Street show the historic building up in flames.

The alarm was raised at 2.40am with emergency services still in attendance. 

A tweet from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service reads: "More than 30 firefighters are currently in attendance at a large fire within a church on Partick Bridge Street, Glasgow, after the alarm was raised at 2.40am.

"Nearby residents are advised to keep windows and doors closed, adjacent properties have been evacuated as a precaution."

HeraldScotland:

READ MORE: WATCH: Devastating moment Glasgow church roof collapses during fire

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Electricity has been temporarily switched off in the area, with people living in Bridge Street and parts of nearby Dumbarton Road having no power.

A local resident told our sister title, the Glasgow Times, that the roof collapsed at around 3.30am.

He added: "Church owner/tender who lived in the adjoining house was evacuated with no injuries.

"House now under siege from the fire. No casualties known at present."

HeraldScotland:

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said the loss was a "heavy blow" to the commuinity.

He said: “The destruction of St Simon’s church by fire will be a blow to people far beyond the west end of Glasgow.  Though small in size, St Simon’s was well-frequented and was the spiritual home of the Polish community in the west of Scotland who had established a shrine there. 

“It was also a focal point for the local community, and especially the homeless who benefited from a café on site which had to be suspended during the pandemic. 

“The church of St Simon’s is linked to the larger parish of St Peter’s in Partick and worshippers will be accommodated there. 

“The cause of the blaze is not immediately apparent, but we will work with the Fire Service as they investigate the site. 

“St Simon’s was a much-loved landmark at Partick Cross and its loss is a heavy blow.” 

 

Humza Yousaf, SNP MSP for Glasgow Pollok, posted online: "What a devastating couple of days for Catholics in Scotland.

"First a cowardly attack on a Priest in his place of worship, followed by this. I know St Simon's had a special place in the Polish community's heart.

"Solidarity with our Catholic community in Scotland."

Labour MSP for Glasgow, Pam Duncan-Glancy, added: "Devastating scenes. Thank you to the firefighters who have worked tirelessly to bring the fire under control."

She added: "I'll be in touch with the church directly, but if you are affected and need help, get in touch pam.duncan-glancy.msp@parliament.scot."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Around 2.50am on Wednesday 28 July 2021, police and emergency services were called to a fire at St Simon’s Catholic Church on Partick Bridge Street, Partick, Glasgow. The church has been extensively damaged.

“A number of residents from homes in the street were evacuated as a result of the fire. There have been no reports of anyone injured as a result.

“Emergency services remain at the scene and inquiries are continuing into the cause of the fire.”

The church was previously trashed by vandals, as we reported in 2019. 

Police said the incident was not thought to be sectarian related or a hate crime offence.

Vandals had caused significant damage to the inside of the church, including damage to the altar area of the church and a shrine to Our Lady of Częstochowa, which has been in the church since the 1940 and is reflective of the Polish parishioners who attend mass in their native language.

HeraldScotland:

Mum of two Mhairi Creanor said she was saddened to see the fire take hold of the building. 

Her elder son Luka was christened at the church in 2009. 

She said: “That is was more than a  building. 

“As we christened our first child at the wide open font at the back of the church, beside the wide open doors, Fr Jim Lawlor echoed the openess of the community parish saying ‘You are all welcome’.”

Robert Hynd, Moderator of the Presbytery of Glasgow (Church of Scotland) added: “It is tragic to see such damage to a proud and historic church building.  St Simon’s has an important place in the life of Partick and is particularly loved by members of Glasgow’s Polish community. 

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the congregation of St Simon’s. Denominations are meaningless at times such as this and we will offer whatever support we can to help in their recovery from this tragic event.”