Huffpost Celebrity

Fire Destroys Hollerado Singer Menno Versteeg's Apartment In Downtown Toronto

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HOLLERADO FIRE
An image of the fire in Menno Versteeg's building. | Twitter

Hollerado's Menno Versteeg is safe after a fire yesterday destroyed his apartment in Toronto yesterday.

Shortly after that initial tweet the group added a bit more info.

An incredibly strange coincidence happened yesterday afternoon while the band was going through old combat footage for use in a music video.

"It's funny we're working on a new music video right now (for 'So It Goes') and it's a song about my grandfather during World War Two in Holland and we're going to Holland in like a week to shoot it," Versteeg told Huffington Post standing outside the remains of his and his wife's apartment Tuesday afternoon. "The director and I were on the east side of town and we were looking through archival footage as we're mixing archival footage with visiting the places where my grandfather fought.

"We were looking at these photos of Rotterdam being bombed and everything's burning. The director was saying, 'Imagine that. Everything you own being scorched in one second. Everything you know.' I was like, 'Yeah you could never imagine.' And obviously it's a totally different scale, but two seconds later my wife's phone rang and it was our buddy calling saying, 'I think your house is on fire.' So we raced back to the west side, it took us like 45 minutes and by the time we got there it was out but everything was demolished."

Versteeg said nobody was in the apartment when the fire broke out but he did lose some of his "favorite" gear that he plays around the house and doesn't take with him on tour. He also said he entered the burned out apartment and found a 1964 Gibson Melody Maker guitar which was wrapped in a blanket.

"I came out of there holding it saying, 'Yes, this is amazing!'" he said, adding a firefighter wrapped it up to try to keep it safe. "He's got the wherewithal to care about my guitar to try and see if he could keep it safe."

The musician also said he had content insurance and was very thankful for that.

"I was so nervous calling the insurance company," he said. "I know I've been paying it, but I don't know what that means. I think it's really going to be okay. I'm not worried at all. It's just stuff."

Versteeg lists the biggest material losses as a house plant "that was a good buddy of mine," a teddy bear his wife owned for years and an autographed photo of Michael Jackson from the Bad tour.

He also said he wasn't surprised by the support by fellow Toronto bands. Members of Tokyo Police Club were in the parking lot watching the fire and quickly tweeted that Hollerado needed some support.

And they literally gave the clothes on their backs to Versteeg.

"It's amazing how many people have offered their house, their food, their clothes," Versteeg said, adding TPC keyboardist Graham Wright gave him a sweatshirt so he wouldn't have to wear a Hollerado hoodie.

As far as any fundraising drive or Kickstarter campaign, Versteeg said he's not considering anything like that despite the fact it will take two months to even begin the reconstruction.

"We're fine, I don't want to make a big deal about it."

Radio station 680 News reported three firefighters were injured in the fire which began on Dundas Street West near Keele Street Monday afternoon. Fire officials said the blaze started on a balcony on a second floor unit before spreading. One firefighter went to hospital with an ankle injury while the other two had heat exhaustion and went to hospital as a precaution.

Hollerado spent a good chunk of time earlier this year on a cross-country trek supporting Billy Talent on the band's headlining jaunt. They also performed a free concert in Ottawa last weekend. An offshoot project of Hollerado dubbed Stella Ella Ola are slated to play Toronto's Silver Dollar this evening.

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