Library reveals full fire damage

05 Jun 2013

About 140 crates of literary material were destroyed or damaged in a fire at the National Library of Wales, staff have said.

Papers relating to the Wales Green Party and the history of Welsh football were some of the items that were damaged or destroyed by the blaze, which broke out on April 26th.

Three boxes of 19th century chapel records from Carmarthen were also destroyed. While some items were burnt by the fire, others were damaged by water as fire crew battled the blaze. Those items that were thought to be salvageable are being restored by a team of experts in Oxford.

Avril Jones, director of collections services at the library, said: "[The fire happened] on a normal working day, and items were being processed on desks and trolleys on the top floor.

"We are all extremely saddened to learn that some items were lost, and we share the great disappointment of the owners of those items."

Oak chests protected some manuscripts and rare books from the fire, while some books that had been soaked by the water hoses were restored the following week.

The fire broke out after two workers on the roof of the library accidentally set fire to a section with a blowtorch. Because of the volume of wood and paper in the building, the fire spread quickly and staff were unable to control it with extinguishers. It took eight fire engines, a platform ladder, an incident command unit and a high volume pumping engine to successfully tackle the fire.

Copyright Press Association 2013

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