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Some valuable collections at Jagger Library have been lost in the fire, says UCT Libraries head

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It has been announced that while some parts of the Jagger Library were gutted, the fire was stopped from spreading to other sections of the library.

Picture: UCT Libraries/Facebook

THE DIRECTOR of UCT Libraries has said that the Reading Room of the Jagger Library has been completely gutted by Sunday’s fire.

The executive director of UCT Libraries, Ujala Satgoor, has announced that while some parts of the Jagger Library were gutted, the fire was stopped from spreading to other sections of the library.

The fire started on Sunday morning and firefighters battled the blaze throughout the day and into the night. Part of the UCT library, residences and upper campus buildings were also damaged by the fire.

“An unexpected natural disaster struck at the heart of UCT Libraries today and I write this message with a deep sense of sorrow and loss at the havoc and devastation it wrought upon the Reading Room of the Jagger Library.

“As some of us watched, from on site, with horror and helplessness this elegant and historical library burn, I can only imagine the shock and horror you must have felt as you watched the news reports and pictures of this destruction,” Satgoor said.

The director of UCT Libraries has said that the Reading Room of the Jagger Library has been completely gutted by fire. Picture: Armand Hough/ African News Agency (ANA)

“At this stage, we can confirm the Reading Room is completely gutted and thankfully the fire detection system in place triggered the fire shutters thereby preventing the spread of the fire to other parts of the library.

“Some of our valuable collections have been lost, however a full assessment can only be done once the building has been declared safe and we can enter the building. An official statement is forthcoming and until such time, I request that individuals refrain from speculation and conjecture.”

Satgoor commended the prompt and co-ordinated efforts of the various UCT Properties and Services teams with their facilities team.

The City of Cape Town Fire and Rescue teams were also thanked for all their efforts to control the fire and contain further damage to the Jagger Library.

“To the staff and students, this is indeed a sad day for UCT and UCT Libraries. Although this loss will be felt deeply, we will weather this storm and rise from the ashes.

“We will keep you updated of developments and our recovery plans.”

On Monday morning, UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said: “Thanks to the UCT leadership team for the swift action yesterday. We managed to accommodate all evacuated students in hotels around Cape Town.

“To everyone who offered help, we are grateful. Today we’ll start assessing the extent of the damage. UCT will recover. UCT will rise.”

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