This piece originally appeared in Wessex Scene.
Detectives have launched an enquiry into arson following a fire at Sobar Nightclub, reported just after 3am this morning. Students living in nearby flats were evacuated, and there have been no injuries.
Sobar was closed at the time of the event. The garden remains sealed off while detectives carry out their investigation. Bevios Valley Road was closed in both directions but was reopened at around 4.30am.
Detective Constable Steve Thomas of Southampton CID, stated
“We’re in the early stages of our investigation but at this time we believe the fire was caused deliberately. This was a large fire and we received many calls at the time from members of the public. Fortunately the bar was closed at the time of the fire and no-one was injured, but the circumstances could have been much worse.”
The Daily Echo reported the fire started in a skip near Bevios Valley and quickly spread to a five-storey building. However, a statement from Sobar published in Sotonight says:
At the moment the Sobar garden is taped off and the garden party will be rescheduled. To quash the rumours what about what happened and the Echo getting it wrong this is it: People jumped the wall last night, set fire to the garden and caused a massive explosion. It is currently a crime scene and until we can get access to the venue there is no more we can tell you.
It is believed that a discarded petrol can was found in the road. Sotonight have also reported that CCTV footage have been obtained of two individuals climbing over the wall to Sobar’s beer garden.
Wessex Scene reached out to a spokesperson from Sobar who refused to comment.
Sobar, a student favourite and often one of Portswood’s most popular venues was due to host a garden party tonight, headlined by DJ EZ. This event has been postponed. All ticket holders will gain free entry to TRiPP nightclub tonight. In an official statement they have said:
The Garden Party with DJ EZ will NOT be happening at the Sobar today. There was an arson attack on the venue in the night, and currently the venue is unable to host our party. We have spoken at length with DJ EZ and management and we will be releasing the replacement show’s date on Monday – this is very likely to be next Saturday or one of the following Saturdays in August. We can only apologise for any inconvenience this has caused but it is totally out of our control.
In true spirit, and for the love of the party (and in fact, because we have wanted to do one of these for a long time), we are going to host an 11 hour day and night party in the club – at TRiPP, 55 London Road, Southampton, SO15 2AD. All ticket holders can come in for free. The doors open at 5pm and will close at 4am.
If you witnessed the event, or know of any relevant information, please contact Southampton CID on 101, or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.