Friday 24 August 2012

"Bad News" - Fire Destroys 'High Society' Negatives

(Kickstarter Update #78, 24 August 2012)
Just thought everyone should know:  Fisher came over today and asked if I had heard from Sandeep. No, I hadn't. Hands me today's RECORD.  Front page: Sandeep's place -- and the buildings on either side of him -- were gutted by fire yesterday afternoon. He got out in one piece but with nothing but the clothes on his back and his wallet (he had been in the shower and a cop showed up at the door:  "You have the leave. NOW") The whole place went up in about five minutes.

All of the negatives for HIGH SOCIETY were destroyed as well as the 11x17 scanner and the new negative scanner. No insurance.  So, I thought I'd better let everyone know that we're definitely not on track for the September 12 launch at this point.

I don't expect that I'll hear from Sandeep for at least a few days -- he's staying with friends and obviously has a lot more important things to think about than HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL.  

Okay -- gotta run to make my 3:00 prayer.  Please feel free to relay this to anyone you think should know.  Particularly people who are waiting on HIGH SOCIETY DIGITAL.

Firefighters battle blaze in Uptown Waterloo
(Janek Lowe, 24 August 2012)
WATERLOO — Uptown Waterloo filled with smoke Thursday as firefighters battled a blaze along King Street North.

A restaurant and a recently vacated convenience store in the building numbered 37, 39 and 41 King St. N. were ablaze shortly after 3 p.m. The two storefronts and the apartments above were gutted. Flames shot up through the roof, thick brown smoke pouring out.

Gord Pesst, who co-owns Mom’s Tattoos with his girlfriend, said he spotted the fire at the back of an alley between his building and the vacant store when he dialed 911.

“Basically the fire went from nothing to the whole building in five minutes,” said Pesst.

He ran upstairs to the apartment he and his girlfriend rent to grab their two dogs and close the windows in a last-minute effort to stave off the smoke.

“I didn’t think it was going to spread that fast.”

Patrycja Rembiszewska was working in the back office of Ish & Chips when she first smelled smoke. She thought it was paper burning in the kitchen when “someone just ran in there and told us the building is on fire.”

When she and her co-workers walked out to see what was happening, they turned around to see the entire restaurant filling with smoke.

“We tried getting whatever we could and just ran out of there,” she said. “I was literally shaking. I couldn’t get myself together.”

The fish and chip restaurant across the street from Princess Twin Cinemas opened in July 2010. Rembiszewska, who has worked there since it opened, said her boss was on a plane coming back from a European vacation and did not yet know about the fire.

“I feel really bad for him.”

King Street between Erb Street and Bridgeport Road was closed well into the evening as Waterloo firefighters poured water and foam onto the scene.

Four fire crews of about 20 firefighters were attacking on three fronts — from street level above and behind, and an aerial unit hanging overhead. Just after 5 p.m. the roof started to collapse.

Police struggled to keep the crowds back behind the police line, those flocking to the scene to watch and photograph the action deep within the brown smoke billowing from the building’s rooftop.

Most businesses along the affected block closed their doors, but patios of local bars and caf├ęs continued to serve customers braving the dark cloud that shifted back and forth across the area.

Waterloo Fire Chief Lyle Quan said heavy smoke was visible when fire crews arrived at the scene. Everyone was out of the building that was on fire, allowing them to work to protect neighbouring buildings.

“If no one needs to be rescued, then the safety of the firefighters becomes our priority,” Quan said.

Quan reported no injuries, but said the building was destroyed. However, the 100-year-old Waterloo post office building south of the blaze and Mom’s Tattoos were believed to be unaffected.

After more than six hours, firefighters were still putting out hot spots and were expected to be on the scene for several more hours.

“It will take us quite a while to get this quenched,” Quan said.

The cause is not yet known. However, a fire investigator from the Waterloo Fire Department was on the scene. Preliminary damages exceed $500,000.

(from the A Distant Soil blog, 25 August 2012)
Most sincere sympathies to Dave Sim and his Cerebus High Society digital archive team. As many of you know, Dave enlisted aid in scanning and archiving his work for a new digital edition of Cerebus. This week, the home of his archivist, as well as the homes of others on the same block, were completely destroyed in a fire. Though it is a great relief no one was killed, the property was a total loss, and all of Dave’s negatives and digital scans were destroyed. It’s a terrible blow, both personally and professionally, for everyone involved. This is also an uninsured loss on the heels of a brilliant Kickstarter fundraising campaign.

While I do not mean to diminish the serious personal loss of anyone else involved, naturally, my past friendship with Dave, and my deep respect for his accomplishments as an artist and creator rights activist, has left me heartsick on Dave’s behalf.

Sincere hopes and good wishes to Dave and his supporters.


jlroberson said...

I owe Dave everything I do in comics, for HIGH SOCIETY especially, and also for help he gave me when I was starting.
I don't know if this is what is needed. But I have all of CEREBUS scanned--from the books--and on a single DVD. If it would help, I will be glad to burn a copy of this and send it.
Please let me know at I don't know if it's much help, but it's what I can do.
This is horrible. Beyond horrible.

Tony Dunlop said...

No injuries - thank God. Sandeep and his neighbors are in my prayers this evening.

Slumbering Agartha said...

I'm glad everyone is okay. I can't imagine what they are going through. On another note, losing all of Sandeep's hard work and losing all the negatives to the entire run of High Society? That's a major Loss in and of itself. I hope that this project recovers and gets back on track. I wish there was something I could do to help out, and I mean that in earnest, because I believe so strongly that Cerebus is a work of staggering importance, and so it's longevity and future accessibility is of equal importance.

Margaret said...

To help Sandeep, please see this page: