Village Gate, Rochester – First Friday is a wonderful tradition, a chance to showcase local artists’ work and allow people to pretend they understand art while drinking white wine out of tiny paper cups. What is normally a festive, fun evening turned treacherous this past Friday.
AXOM Gallery sustained severe property damage after a fire erupted in one of the showcase rooms. Luckily no one was injured and the fire was able to be contained, which is surprising since the flames were left undoused for several hours.
City Fire Chief, John Schreiber, says he doesn’t understand how it was able to burn for that long. “I just can’t wrap my mind around why nobody called us sooner. I mean, a room was completely on fire.”
“To be honest, my first instinct was to find the artist that created such a powerful, moving statement, “ Richard Darby, self acclaimed local art connoisseur, said about the on-fire room. Darby, and many other First Friday attendees, initially thought the very real fire to be an artistic showcase, on display for the monthly gallery night. “It rather didn’t occur to me that it could be an actual fire,” Darby said, wiping his monocle on his ripped ‘The Smiths’ shirt.
When asked if he thought it concerning that the building’s alarm system had been triggered, Darby said, “I do not underestimate any artists’ scope or ability.”
Eventually, a patron of Good Luck, who had just ordered their signature $27 Mystic Teardrop, a drink consisted of half an ounce of gin, water and lemon zest, called the fire department after seeing smoke pouring out of the room’s third story window.
Fire investigators believe the fire was caused when Dahl Jacobsen, a resident artist, knocked a candle over while painting a self-portrait blindfolded, part of a series he calls “Blind Reflections of My Inner Eye.” Jacobsen could not be contacted.