The fire at Kokos this year brings back the memories of the devasting fires at Glasgow School of Art and Notre-Dame.

KOKO, an iconic club in London, was badly damaged by a large fire on the 7th January. It took over sixty firefighters and 8 fire engines to help fight the flames after the blaze broke out at on their iconic dome roof around 21:00 on Monday.

Fortunately, no injuries have been reported which can be put largely down to the "firefighters' quick action and hard work in the early stages meant the fire was contained to the roof and saved the rest of the building” says Jon Lewis the station commander. The fire was brought under control by 02:37 am due to the great work from fire crews from Euston, Kentish Town, Islington, Soho and Holloway which meant only one-third of the roof was damaged.

This serves as another example of the sometimes-hidden dangers of refurbishing. Kokos was undergoing a redevelopment includes the acquisition of the two adjacent buildings and a complete renovation of the rooftop area. Od Projects were and still are the main contractor and they are being supported by Consultant Tower Eight who have assisted with project management, quantity and more.

Fires during refurbishments are becoming a worrying trend. The fire at Kokos this year brings back the memories of 2018’s extensive and devasting fire at Glasgow School of Art and Notre-Dame.

All of these fires had occurred whilst refurbishments and renovations were ongoing. In all of the mentioned cases firefighters were met with extremely challenging and complex issues due to the changes that refurbishments can bring to the layout of buildings. For instance, in the Glasgow School of Art fire, it was surprising to Stephen Mackenzie, an independent fire, security and resilience adviser, that the mist suppression system had been taken out in the recent renovations. Whilst in Notre-Dame Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College claims refurbishments and renovations can cause added risk of fire due to “flames and sparks associated with welding and similar construction hazards combined with flammable materials like the wooden beams”.  It remains to be seen what caused the fire at Kokos and but an in-depth investigation is underway.