A thermomechanical model is presented for predicting the time-dependent deflections of cellular FRP slab elements subjected to mechanical loading and fire from one side. The model comprises temperature-dependent mechanical property sub-models for the Young's modulus, viscosity and coefficient of thermal expansion. Two different thermal boundary conditions were investigated: with and without liquid-cooling of the slab elements in the cells. A finite difference method was used to calculate the deflection at each time step. Deflections resulting from stiffness degradation due to glass transition and decomposition of the resin dominated over those resulting from viscosity and thermal expansion. The predicted total deflections compared well with the measured results over a test period of up to 2 h. The failure mode of the non-cooled specimen could be explained. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved