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Fire Sweeps Through Museum Of History In Kurt Cobain's Hometown Of Aberdeen

By Emily Abshire | NPR
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

On Saturday, a fire destroyed the Aberdeen Museum of History in Kurt Cobain's hometown of Aberdeen, Wash., which included items from his early life.

The Cobain-dedicated exhibit included a couch he slept on at a friend's home for the fall of 1985, a bench from outside his home in Seattle and posters, artwork and band T-shirts.

Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic tweeted, "This is terrible. Hope people are safe."

No one was in the building at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported. It took 77 firefighters 10.5 hours to suppress the fire, with an investigation into its cause beginning today, Aberdeen Fire Chief Tom Hubbard tells NPR. Hubbard says the fire started from within the building, a cause most typically related to heating or electrical malfunctions.

The armory was home to several other organizations beside the museum. The museum, like the riverside city of about 16,400 people where it's located, was small.

"The museum was just a little gem," Hubbard says. "People would travel from all over to see it."

It is a regular stop listed on Nirvana fan blogs, along with the several homes Cobain lived in during his unstable childhood. The city has several small monuments, both official and unofficial, scattered around, which are popular visitor spots.

The Nirvana frontman didn't necessarily have a good relationship with his hometown, which is about 80 miles southwest of Seattle. He once called likened it to Twin Peaks, but "without the excitement," according to Everett True's Nirvana: The Biography.

In 2005, the city added a "Come As You Are" plaque (above) to hang below "Welcome to Aberdeen" on its city sign. In 2014, the city celebrated its first Kurt Cobain Day, according to The Guardian.

It's unclear if all of museum's Cobain-related items have been completely destroyed. Hubbard says specialists have begun going into the building to salvage artifacts and historical documents, and museums from across the country have offered resources and help.

"Aberdeen has been faced with some big fires or disasters, and we all just really pull together and get through it," he says.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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