The Waterstones bookstore on Above Bar Street in Southampton suffered extensive damage Tuesday afternoon after a fire ripped through the space, the Bookseller reported. A 39-year-old man is being questioned by police about the incident. A spokesperson for the retailer said: "We are glad to report that, thankfully, all customers and booksellers are safe and that no one was injured. The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing and the damage has not yet been fully assessed. It is evident, however, that the shop will be closed for a considerable time."
James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said: "I think the store has been pretty badly damaged. We have some of our property people going down there now. Clearly we are not going to be going back in there for some time, and when we will, it will need a serious refit. It is pretty devastating, but the most important thing is no one was hurt. Luckily we are a chain. It is one store of many. If it was an independent bookshop, it would have been someone's livelihood, but luckily we are not in that position. We will move staff to our other store in the city."