John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport
A fire broke out at the National Library of Wales on Friday, 26 April 2013, in a section of the roof of the Third Library Building, which is mainly office space. The National Library immediately implemented its emergency procedures, and all staff and visitors were safely evacuated without incident. The Mid and West Wales Fire Service was on the scene promptly to bring the fire under control and extinguish it, limiting the damage to the building and collections.
A 30m section of the roof was destroyed and severe damage has been caused to the office space below. The emergency procedures designed to safeguard the collections at the Library in the event of a major incident are continuing. A specialist disaster recovery team arrived at the Library on Friday evening and worked over the weekend with Library staff to assess and mitigate any damage to the collections. Damage to the collections is restricted to items in the immediate vicinity of the incident and indications are that damage is limited and that the majority of items affected can be recovered. None of the more significant treasures held by the Library have been affected.
Investigations as to the cause of the fire are being carried out by the Fire Service and the Library will be instigating its own internal investigation into the causes. The full extent of the damage to the fabric of the building and the financial implications of the fire are currently being assessed and therefore it is too early for me to comment on these issues.
My officials have been in regular contact with the staff of the Library throughout the weekend and will continue to work closely with the Library over the coming weeks and months. I will be visiting the Library myself on Thursday of this week to see at first hand the damage, and to initiate the discussions on how the Welsh Government can support the Library. The Library is one of our most treasured national institutions and I would like to assure the Library of my ongoing support through this very difficult period.
Welsh Government is very grateful for the professionalism and Commitment of the fire crews, the staff of the Library and all those individuals and organisations who have worked and are continuing to work in difficult conditions to safeguard the rich heritage of our nation.
I will keep you updated on this situation as more information becomes available in the coming days and weeks.
Official updates from the National Library are being posted on its website http://www.llgc.org.uk/index.php?id=160, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.