For more than four hours in the early morning of Friday, Apr. 20, some 40 firefighters from the Madison, Maple Bluff, and Monona fire departments responded to a two-alarm fire in a historic railroad roundhouse located at 1741 Commercial Avenue on the north side of Madison. Home to warehouse space and the offices of Apex Property Management, Warren Heating, and Human Head Studios, there were no injuries, though damages to the building could exceed $1 million. The Madison Fire Department (with assistance from the Wisconsin State Fire Marshall and the ATF) subsequently ruled the blaze accidental, suggesting that the cause was potentially due to the ignition of petroleum solvents (such as paint and varnish) in a storeroom or by a defective electric light fixture.
This fire has received a bit of attention in the gaming industry due to the damage at Human Head, a prominent video game developer in town responsible creating titles like Prey and Rune. In fact, several photos of the building only hours after the fire was extinguish were published on the message board for Network of Gamers, the self-described "Southern Wisconsin's Finest LAN Party." The majority of the Studio's offices were undamaged due to a (physical) firewall separating them from the portion of the building where the fire started, though, reported Next Generation on Monday, Apr. 23.
On the following day, Human Head posted a notice about the fire, declaring:
We are relieved to report that no one was injured in the fire, and though we suffered some equipment and furniture loss due to smoke and water, we suffered no significant data loss, as the brunt of the fire was located in another part of the building.
We're excited to let our concerned friends know that this speed bump won't keep us from continuing our development of great new award-winning product. We will be relocating to a new office space for the short term, and we expect to be back in full development very soon.
By Tuesday afternoon, another article from Next Generation noted this message from Human Head, and reported that they planned to have some semblance of their development operations back on track by the end of this week.
Meanwhile, the act of fighting the actual fire has been memorialized by the Maple Bluff Fire Department Internship Program, which has presented a photo montage of the blaze and its aftermath, all set to the tunes of "Numb/Encore" by Jay-Z and Linkin Park. This four-minute firefighting video clip follows below, along with updates