The area of the Library that was affected by
fire is known as the Third Library Building Offices on the South of the
site. The roof of the Third Library Building Offices was a flat roof with
a concrete base and a bitumen, impregnated with gravel, roof covering.
Significant works were being undertaken to the roof of the Library as a whole.
Prior to the start of the fire two workers had been
stripping the roof covering from the flat roof of the Third Library Building
Offices using a scalping machine. This machine was not able to remove all
of the roof covering from around the edges of the roof and as such the workers
used a propane powered blow torch to warm the roof covering which was then
scraped off using hand tools.
Shortly after 14.30 one worker was using the blow
torch to warm the roof covering on the edge of the Third Library Building
Offices roof. The blow torch caused the ignition of the wood behind the
external cladding. The two workers attempted to extinguish the fire
however they were unable to access behind the external cladding from the roof
edge and the application of water had no effect on the development of the
The fire spread behind the external cladding extremely
quickly due to the dry nature of the material, believed to be bitumen
impregnated fiberboard, and the bitumen impregnated dust generated by the scalping
machine. One of the workers activated the fire alarm for the library and
notified Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service at 14.38. Library
staff attempted to extinguish the fire using a number of fire extinguishers
however these had no impact on the development of the fire due to the external
cladding protecting the seat of the fire.
A total of 8 pumping appliances, an Aerial Ladder
Platform, Incident Command Unit and a High Volume Pumping appliance from
notified Mid & West Wales Fire & Rescue Service attended the incident
extinguishing the fire using the Aerial Ladder Platform as a water tower,
numerous main jets and hose reel jets.
The most probable cause has been recorded as the
accidental ignition of timber, located behind the external cladding on the edge
of the roof. Ignition was caused by the propane powered blow torch.