Fire at UWC Atlantic College [UPDATED 16:20 14/4/2011]

Everyone is fine, no-one was hurt & we’re all safe

[UPDATED 17:00 14/4/2011] – My own photos uploaded
[UPDATED 16:20 14/4/2011] – Official announcement on the cause of fire – inconclusive
[UPDATED 17:45 13/4/2011] – Photos from the AC website and the UWC-HC email-list
[UPDATED 17:30 13/4/2011] – Updates from this afternoon
[UPDATED 12:00 13/4/2011] – Updates from this morning
[UPDATED 20:00 12/4/2011] – New statement on the School website along with an update from BBC

A fire occured around mid-day at Sunley House, one of the student residences at UWC Atlanitc College. The fire alarm was activated and everyone assembled in the right place, we’re all accounted for.
People are fine, no known cause of fire and we aren’t sure what will happen in the long term. Accommodation has been arranged.
The school is being drawn together like never before.


Rolling updates on the fire at Sunley House, one of the student residences at UWC Atlanitc College.
16:22 14/4/2011 – Most of the stuff previously mentioned still lying in the Courtyard as people have yet to go through and locate their items
15:00 14/4/2011 – Maintenance staff begin to move things out of Sunley house. Beds, draws and bags of personal items are being brought from the house to the Castle pending collection by their owners
16:30 13/4/2011 – Some students from Sunley return from University Fair in Cardiff. They are not permitted to return to the house until tomorrow
15:00 13/4/2011 – Students from Sunley permitted to return to the house and pick up what remains
12:00 13/4/2011 – Sunley house students to be allowed to go back to the house sometime this afternoon. All of them have been given some money for emergency supplies although it appears the college’s insurance covers the house but will not be able to cover the students properties
5:20 – Just been to the new dayroom in the Globe Lounge. Seen a large amount of stuff put there already. School’s coming together like never before. Dropped off a load of clothes from Operation Smile and SBF
17:10 – Another meeting arranged for affected people tomorrow morning. Students encouraged to support each other in their own ways
17:08 – Large parts of the building still “structurall unsafe” and so the building continues to be out-of-bounds
17:05 – Students told letters will be sent to relevant guardians and parents in the next hour (I’m assuming these are electronic letters)
17:00 – Whole School Meeting in the Dining Hall
15:30 – Students allocated temporary accommodation in the castle, there’s enough space for all 52 students
13:05 – The whole school is told to stay away from the Tice-Sunley area and a whole-school meeting was scheduled for 5pm
12:40 – The first fire-truck reportedly arrives, 15 minutes late to the scene
12:38 – A sort of organzied chaos ensured for about 30 minutes as people tried to get a glimsp of Sunley House, observed the smoke and considered what might be happening
12:37 – Campus wide fire-alarm goes off. Everyone frantically grathers on the second-lawn as per the usual fire-procedures
12:25 – Sunley house reportedly catches fire


From regarding the cause of fire.
Current (14:30 14/4/2011)

Inquiry into cause of Boarding House Fire Inconclusive
14th April 2011

Following the fire incident that devasted Sunley boarding house earlier this week the fire service has completed the investigation into the cause of the fire. The conclusions from the investigation were that the fire was accidental, had started in the upstairs quiet room of the house and that the inquiry into the cause was inconclusive.

Insurance assessors are currently looking at the building and although both floors and the roof of the building were damaged in the fire a complete re-build may not be required. However, at this stage, nothing is confirmed.

The students of Sunley House are living in accommodation within the castle and continue to receive the support of the college community. Some were fortunate enough to be able to retrieve most of their personal possessions, others, unfortunately, lost everything.

We can confirm that the incident will not affect next year’s intake numbers and that the education programme continues as normal.

From Atlantic College

Current (20:00 12/4/2011)

UWC Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan has suffered a major fire incident in one of the boarding houses on the east side of the campus. The fire broke out at around midday on Tuesday 12th April and the automatic fire alarm system detected the fire and activated alarms.

Paul Motte, Principal of UWC Atlantic College said, ‘All staff and students were immediately evacuated in accordance with the college’s fire safety protocols. Correct procedures were adhered to and local fire fighters promptly contained the site of the fire. All individuals were accounted for and no injuries were sustained. Our primary concern now, as always, is for the care and welfare of our students.’

The boarding house, Sunley, was home to approximately 50 of the students who attend the international residential school based in St Donat’s Castle, near Llantwit Major. Alternative accommodation within the castle has been allocated for those students who have been directly affected and, if anyone requires it, counselling support is being provided by the college counsellor and pastoral staff.

Fire crews from Llantwit Major, Cowbridge and Bridgend arrived quickly at the scene with three appliances with water ladders to tackle the blaze, which was contained to one residential block. The full extent of the damage and the cause of the fire are not yet known.

‘Despite this being a major incident of a very serious nature it is reassuring to know that all members of the college community acted responsibly and all are safe and well. We are now working to minimise the impact of the incident on our students’ welfare and education’, Paul concluded.

Original (17:00 12/4/2011)

Boarding House Fire at UWC Atlantic College
12th April 2011
Following a fire incident at one of the boarding houses (Sunley) at the college today we can confirm that everyone is accounted for, safe and there have been no injuries. The care and welfare of the students remains the priority. A more detailed statement will be released later after further assessment of the situation.

From the BBC

Current (20:00 12/4/2011)

Atlantic College pool water dampens accommodation fire

Fire crews used water from a college swimming pool to dampen down a blaze at a campus accommodation block.

Seven fire crews put out the blaze which severely damaged the boarding house at Atlantic College, Vale of Glamorgan. No-one was injured.

The college, which has 350 students aged 16-18, said everyone based at the building will be moved out and accommodated within St Donat’s Castle.

South Wales fire service said it received an alert at 1226 BST.

Four crews remain at the college while the extent of the blaze, which hit the ground floor, first floor and roof of the block, is assessed.

The college put the following statement on its website: “Following a fire incident at one of the boarding houses (Sunley) at the college today we can confirm that everyone is accounted for, safe and there have been no injuries.

“The care and welfare of the students remains the priority.”

The college recruits its students from some 80 countries and is housed at St Donat’s Castle, near Llantwit Major.

The castle, which dates from the 12th Century, was once owned by the American newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst.

Original (17:00 12/4/2011)

Atlantic College residential block blaze (12 April 11 15:27)

Seven fire crews are tackling a blaze in a building at Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The fire has hit the ground floor, first floor and the roof of what is understood to be a residential block.

No-one has been injured and everyone was accounted for following the blaze which broke out at before 1226 BST.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said three appliances with water ladders had been sent from Llantwit Major, Cowbridge and Bridgend.

Atlantic College has around 350 students aged 16-18 from around the world.


Blaze outbreak at Vale college

A FIRE has broken out at Atlantic College, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Seven fire crews are tackling the blaze, which is believed to have broken out in a residential building at the college at around 12.30pm.

No injuries have been reported and all staff and 350 students have been accounted for.

South Wales Fire and Rescue said three appliances with water ladders had been sent from Llantwit Major, Cowbridge and Bridgend



  1. Hey Paul,
    I am the German Secondyear in RCNUWC, the United World College in Norway. I received the news about the fire during dinner today. Is there anything that we, fellow UWC students, can do to support those that were affected by the fire? Where are they standing when it comes to continuing IB preparations etc? Unfortunately I haven’t heard anything from my German coyears yet. Can you tell me whether any of them has been affected? Please say hi from me and encourage them to send me an e-mail (no facebook… 😉

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