This is hard to look at…
While we’re sure everyone wants to start 2021 out on a positive note, we hate to rain on the parade already with bad news. However, this story of a building fire wiping out an extensive vintage motorcycle collection in New Hampshire is too important to not cover, so here we go.
The victim of the blaze was the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association in Laconia, New Hampshire. It happened on Christmas of all days, wiping out old photos, magazines, and countless other memorabilia items chronicling the 97-year-old motorcycle rally’s history.
Included in the extensive collection was a wide array of collectibles and souvenirs chronicling long and storied history of the rally. Among them were quite a few old photographs, posters, periodicals, and historical records – many of which were handwritten and not printed – so quite a few of the items are likely lost forever. Various plaques and books were also in the collection, making the loss that much more significant.
According to local news reports, the fire was heavy on the first floor of the building when fire crews first arrived. They worked not only to get the blaze under control, but also to rescue a person trapped in an apartment on the second floor. That person and a firefighter were both treated on the scene for non-serious injuries. While the cause of the fire was still under investigation at the time of the local reports, it was believed to be accidental.
For those wondering what about insurance covering the damage, Laconia Motorcycle Week Association says the coverage only covers “a fraction of the loss.” That’s the unfortunate truth about insurance, for those who lately think burning down buildings and torching businesses is a victimless crime, is it won’t necessarily restore everything. It’s truly unfortunate in this case that the association has been put in this situation.
Throughout a difficult 2020 we saw many motorcycle-related events canceled and that trend is carrying on into 2021. However, back in August the Laconia Motorcycle Week was still held and seemed to have good attendance. With how scrappy the association has proved to be through that kind of adversity, we can’t help but feel it will fin a way to make lemonade out of these lemons.
On Facebook, Laconia Motorcycle Week Association posted about the fire, expressing gratitude to the local fire departments which responded to fight the blaze and that nobody was seriously injured in the process. The organization acknowledged that many people from around the world look forward to souvenir sales from the association, an effort which now seems to be surrounded in uncertainty. Same thing goes for the memorabilia published by the New Hampshire nonprofit. With that in mind, they’re digging through the remnants of the office to salvage anything that’s left and hopefully some good items will be available in the near future.
Also on the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association’s official page, the organization announced a GoFundMe account has been set up by the organization Check Twice Signs. The association says funds raised will be used for the work of cleaning up the fire, which is estimated to run about $40,000, as well as covering items lost from general operations as well as the historical collection. We haven’t vetted the info, and it’s always a good idea to check out the validity of any fundraiser, but you can see the GoFundMe page here.
While it’s shocking that a big chunk of motorcycle history was lost so suddenly, staff of Laconia Motorcycle Week Association are also reeling because the beloved office cat, Ashland, was killed in the blaze.