The Book Cellar Soldiers On After Fire

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On Sunday, April 17, The Book Cellar in Brattleboro, Vermont, was destroyed by a catastrophic fire, which tore through The Brooks House, the downtown building that housed the bookstore and about 10 other retailers and 59 apartments. No one was injured in the blaze, but the store lost its entire inventory and shelving, said Book Cellar owner Lisa Sullivan.

The fire, which was caused by faulty wiring in the building’s residential section, was six-alarms, necessitating 150 firefighters and about 1.8 million gallons of water.

The Brooks House is completely closed, and determinations are currently being made regarding rebuilding and clean up. A message to customers, posted on the store website, notes: “All of The Book Cellar’s books were lost to water damage. We are closed indefinitely and will keep you posted on future plans as soon we know what those are.”

“The community has been very supportive,” Sullivan told BTW. “Our local officials have been in constant contact with us, and there is an outpouring of support from our customers.”

Although long-range plans for The Book Cellar are yet to be determined, Sullivan said that store staff is working on moving scheduled events to her second bookstore, Bartleby’s, in Wilmington, Vermont, and elsewhere.

“Bartleby’s will the hub of our bookselling activity,” said Sullivan, adding that she hopes to have a great summer season there.

The Book Cellar also plans to go through with a scheduled May 6th event featuring Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series. It will take place at a venue in Brattleboro that hosts community events.

The Book Cellar is encouraging customers to continue patronizing the store through its IndieCommerce website. A note on the site informs customers that books will be shipped from Bartleby’s, and e-books are always available.