“Fire at Dawn! Salvage and Restoration of the UWI Archives following the 2010 Fire” was the title of the presentation made by John Aarons and Stanley Griffin at the Conservation component of the 9th. Symposium of the Archaeological Society of Jamaica held at the UWI from April 13 – 14, 2010.
The two archivists, speaking publicly for the first time on the fire, showed pictures of the damage caused by the fire to the building and the effects of the fire on some of the records. Most of the presentation however dealt with the salvage and recovery efforts and the lessons learned from what could have become a major disaster. The fact that it did not become a major disaster was because the archival collection was saved from damage as a result of the activation of the fire suppression system. Virtually the only materials lost were archival storage containers and printed materials such as newspaper clippings and copies of University publications. Among the lessons they said which were learned were the importance of having in place important preventative measures, giving extra protection to irreplaceable records,placing materials in storage boxes as these help to withstand water damage and acting quickly after the event to prevent the development of mould on materials.