Brendan Burns and his 11 housemates were asleep early last Thursday morning when flames engulfed their three-floor Cambridge home around 3:15 a.m.
The building, located at 95 Columbia Street in Central Square — and known by friends as "The Danger Zone" and "The Columbia House" — was home to a fluctuating group of local artists and musicians. Its displaced residents include Burns, who performs his own music and with the Kristen Ford Band and SchoolTree, plus solo artist Mary Bichner (formerly of Box Five), film producer Peter Moulthrop, Jaggery's upright bassist Tony Leva, banjo player Thomas Huber, and seven others.
No residents were injured and the cause of the fire is unknown as of yet, though Burns says they are expecting to know by Friday. The fire destroyed the majority of their possessions, including instruments.
"The local community has been incredible and supportive," says Burns, who'd been living in the house for five years. "There's a lot of resources, from the Red Cross and fire department, that have been outstanding and incredibly supportive."
Two fundraisers are in the works to help out the displaced residents: the first, "Help! Our Bands Are on Fire!," is set for September 9, with 25 bands playing at various venues around Union Square, including Precinct, Sally O'Brien's, and PA's Lounge.
The second is set for September 14 at Flat Top Johnny's. The event, "Dark Angels," is inspired by the Boston goth scene, and will include DJs, performances, and prizes from local artists.
"A lot of these artists that are helping out. . . it's striking," Burns adds. "Because artists don't have a lot of money. [So] it's really incredible to see people helping out. We are an incredible community."
Those interested in donating to Columbia House residents can visit columbiahousefire.weebly.com or columbiahousefire.chipin.com.