On Friday night, the Bushwick performance space and artist community Silent Barn suffered a fire on the building’s third floor while a concert took place downstairs.
All residents and concertgoers were safely evacuated, but the third-floor apartment where the fire started — one of four units that house nine members of the Silent Barn community — was ruined. Smoke and water damaged the other apartment and the downstairs performance space.
The cause of the fire is believed to be an electrical malfunction, according to a post on the venue’s website.
The venue has insurance, but the staff is asking for financial help for residents’ destroyed personal belongings and venue staff, as well as volunteers to help house residents and relocate the venue’s scheduled shows.
Here’s the note posted on Silent Barn’s website:
Last night, September 25th, Silent Barn experienced a fire on the third floor, in the apartments. There were people in the apartments and a show taking place downstairs in our mainspace, but everyone made it out of the building safely. We believe an electrical malfunction caused the fire, and hope to confirm the cause soon. The fire destroyed the room where it began and caused smoke and water damage to the surrounding apartments and to our performance space. Some of our residents lost all of their personal belongings. We will be unable to host events in our main performance space until further notice. Our stewdios and yard remain open as normal and we hope to host some events in those spaces in the meanwhile. As a collective, we are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support we have received so far!
The Silent Barn is insured and rebuilding costs will eventually be reimbursed. However, our residents’ personal losses are not covered. We are making every effort to support our residents during this difficult time, and we’re happy to say that the donations we’ve already received through our website can likely cover personal losses. Sadly, every upstairs resident will be displaced until the damage can be assessed and the building restored. The most pressing financial concern is the loss of income from empty apartments and no shows downstairs. This will probably cost us tens of thousands of dollars and could potentially also cost us the space we’ve worked so hard to create.
While we cannot host large groups of people in our mainspace during the building renovations, we’re hoping to maintain (and even extend) our daytime cafe hours and community programming. Stopping in to buy a coffee, hanging out in the yard, or even just working on your computer here are great ways to support us in this stressful time. We want to hang out with our friends and celebrate what makes this space so important in the first place. Here’s what we know so far:
We are currently working to move our existing shows over the next three weeks to neighboring venues. It may even be possible to host some of those smaller shows in other areas of the space. We’ll have a more accurate timeline within the next week, as damages are assessed. To our bookers, bands, and attendees: we’ll have constant updates for you via email, our newsletter, and our website. We’ll do our best to not cancel shows completely.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Now more than ever, we need donations. We’re working to assess our losses and provide an updated version of what we need to replace (especially regarding our residents’ material possessions).
** Ways to donate and more updates can be found here: www.silentbarn.org/donate
Insurance claims move slowly, but we don’t have to. Donations will primarily go towards replacing residents’ personal belongings, Silent Barn’s damaged property and loss of income. We also hope to retain as much staff as possible; we provide about $7,500 to our shows staff every month, and we are concerned about supporting our friends who depend on their jobs here.
We’d like to take a moment to thank the New York City Fire Department for moving so swiftly to save lives and our space. Also, to every person who stopped by in person last night and today, brought supplies, food, and lent us their attention and kind words: thank you. You’ve made it possible for us to push through this tragedy swiftly and gracefully. The health of our project depends on your support, so please keep us in your thoughts. Silent Barn is People!
The Silent Barn
[Photo: Silent Barn via Facebook]
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