A FIRE that destroyed an entire block of businesses in Glasgow’s city centre may not have started in a nightclub thought to be the origin of the blaze.

Until now, the roof of Victoria’s nightclub at 98 Sauchiehall Street was believed to be where the blaze, dubbed the Victoria’s fire, started.

However, an incident report by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Freedom of Information request obtained by the Evening Times has revealed the first report of the fire was at health food shop Holland and Barrett – at 94 Sauchiehall Street.

Joiners working in the same building on the morning of the fire have supported the claim that it did not start in the roof, as originally thought.

The team were in the upper floors of 92 to 98 Sauchiehall Street, on the site of a hotel development said to be nearing completion on the morning of the fire on March 22, last year.

READ MORE: The day Glasgow stood still as iconic street burned

Developers were reportedly building the hotel – with a nightclub and rooftop terrace – in the upper floors of the properties for over two years, after being given planning permission by Glasgow City Council in 2014.

According to an insider, the hotel was expected to be called the Best Western and Glasgow Theatreland.

A senior member of the construction team, who asked not to be named, said: “The joiners were evacuated from the buildings on the morning of the fire.

“I’ve seen the fire logs for Victoria’s and the fire in Holland and Barrett started five minutes beforehand.

“We have video footage of the fire coming through the windows of Victoria’s after it took out the ceiling of Holland and Barrett.

“The possibility of the fire having started in the roof is impossible.”

In the year following the blaze, questions have been raised about fire protection in place at the health food shop.

READ MORE: Glasgow workers tell of fear trapped inside cordon

As reported by the Evening Times last year, Scottish Fire and Rescue area commander, James Hymas said that the blaze “probably” started on the upper floors.

However, he added that firefighters were pulled out of the nightclub shortly after entering as flames “burst through the floorboards”.

Speaking at the time, he said: “The firefighters went up and have felt the heat from the floor. They’ve then started to peel away carpets and floors and it shot through the floor like a Bunsen burner.”

Stephen Mackenzie, an independent fire expert who gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament committee on the second Sauchiehall Street fire at the Glasgow School of Art, said it would be ‘perfectly feasible’ for Holland and Barrett to be the origin.

He added: “The discovery of the fire below the night club floor deck further indicates the fire started at a lower level rather than an upper or roof level. 

“A fire below is a dangerous occurrence and, as the structural integrity of the floor structure was unknown, it would have required a tactical withdrawal for fire service personnel.

READ MORE: Timeline of events of massive city centre fire

“Structural floor elements are required to resist fire for a period of time, laid out in the technical handbook to the Scottish building regulations – for example 60min 90min, 120min – to provide structural integrity and insulation resistance to fire. 

“As the heat was felt through the floor, the insulation had failed and when the carpet was pulled back the integrity of the floor had failed and the risk to fire fighters was a strong indicator of a potential onset of structural failure – hence the tactical withdrawal.

“It’s time for Glaswegians and Scottish business to wake up to the benefits of comprehensive fire risk reduction systems and management regimes or risk losing all to one of the most destructive phenomena facing the built environment – fire.”

The fire service was alerted to the blaze by a ‘person on their mobile’ at 8.18am.

For all your breaking Glasgow news, click here, or head to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages

It is not known whether an automatic fire detection system was in place that would have notified the building occupants and reported the emergency to first responders.

A spokesperson for Victoria’s nightclub said they were unable to comment as investigations into the incident are ongoing. They confirmed work was being carried out on the hotel development ahead of the fire.

In response to the allegations made in this article, a spokeswoman for Holland and Barrett, said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service investigation is still ongoing and therefore Holland & Barrett is unable to comment on the events at this stage.”

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that their investigation into the Sauchiehall Street fire has now concluded.