MISSOURIAN/Caitlin Jones

By now, all of us know about the devastating fire that consumed a large portion of the Brookside apartments on the morning of May 27. The Columbia Fire Department was able to extinguish the flames that engulfed the building  after it had caused millions of dollars in damage to the apartment complex. Part of the story that has received just as much attention as the fire itself is a band flyer.

The flyer under suspicion, produced by Ben Chlapek, depicts a burning apartment complex. This poster was first seen posted around town advertising a Blue Note concert three weeks before the Brookside apartments caught fire. The trouble for Chlapek, who is a local artist and musician in the band Enemy Airship, is that there seem to be some who are unfairly associating him with the Brookside blaze because of his band flyer.

In instances such as these, all people can and should do is look at the facts:

  • The cause of the fire and any potential arsonists have not been identified.
  • The Columbia Police Department will neither confirm nor deny that Chlapek is a part of its ongoing investigation about the cause of the fire.
  • There are no street signs or other names in the picture that specifically identify the burning building as the Brookside apartments at College Avenue and Walnut Street or any other apartment complex.
  • Many of Chlapek’s previous flyers contain pictures of burning buildings, none of which have caught on fire, including an igloo.

In the end, it’s best to form your own opinion based on facts. I find that particularly hard to do at this point because the fire department is still conducting an ongoing investigation. Speculation, which is all people have to go on at this point, should not be the basis for fact or argument.

In the meantime, just run a google search and see what people are saying. It might surprise you. Or, take a look at some of Chlapek’s work at neversleeping.com.

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