THERE is a danger of the flames that painted the dark sky over the Glasgow School of Art red and yellow on Friday igniting a burning sense of frustration and even anger. How could this happen twice in four years? It is outrageous.

But it has happened and we have to deal with it. After the heat of the conflagration, it is time for cool heads. Naturally, there has been disbelief and even a sense of grief. It is a rare building that inspires such affection.

Public reaction has been understandable and, already, there have been calls for a public inquiry. But we must proceed one step at a time, and let the fire service investigations take place, even while speculation and finger-pointing threaten to take hold.

A twice-inflicted tragedy is doubly unjust. That the Mackintosh building could have been engulfed in flames again, after the first conflagration in 2014, has added insult to injury. But we should be grateful that were no actual injuries, never mind lives lost. The college authorities have rightly focused on their students, leaving the devastation of architecture to be contemplated secondarily.

It is also important to recognise that, while this fire was worse than the first in its ferocity, it took place on what was essentially a construction site and not a living, working building. Even so, the structural damage has been greater.

Attention shifts to possible rebuilding. Every aspect of the building is now stored digitally but, in this case, the devil is not so much in the detail as in the stability. Some construction experts have suggested the building will have to be demolished, meaning any reconstruction would have to be from scratch at great cost. Others think the walls can remain and be reinforced.

By whatever means, the Mack will be reborn in some form. It is, of course, “just” a building. But it contained spirit, art, history and joy. The nearby O2 ABC, which was also substantially damaged, was similarly a popular music and club venue for many Glaswegians, and we must hope it can be saved. Its reopening would signal a return to normality.

For now, we reflect on the flesh and blood aspects of this tragedy in stone. No lives were lost, and our fire fighters performed magnificently in containing the blaze. One feels for the students out celebrating their graduation nearby on the same night. How poignant their evening became.

We also feel for those involved in the reconstruction after the first blaze, and hope that work completed away from the building will still be used in future.

Friday’s fire came as a shock, but that will leave our systems, and a new Mack will rise from the ashes.