It happened late on Wednesday night. The shop closes at 9pm and some 2 hours later someone noticed that there was a fire. It would appear that some kind of electrical fault with the airconditioning unit set it off. Plastic parts from the aircon dangle from the ceiling, melted and charred. The table below the airconditioner is totally burnt away: just the stumps of legs remain.
The till has melted, and you can't see in or out of the shop windows because of the soot. It's going to take days to clean up the mess, and even longer to do a complete stocktake and damage assessment. Then they will have to have a Fire Sale to get rid of all the damaged stock. After that the rebuilding process begins: clean and paint the walls, replace the ceiling, the furniture, the carpet, the light fittings and all the bookshelves.
I know about the fire because my wife is the manager there. She has been dealing with insurance assessors, fire damage inspectors and other logistical natters for most of Thursday and Friday. The shop is closed for now, but will reopen. It's too soon to say when.
Update Tuesday 25th June: