Jeramey Jannene

Urban Milwaukee Burns, Will Rise Like a Phoenix

Tragedy strikes our publication, but optimism abounds.

By - Jun 7th, 2020 04:45 pm
Urban Milwaukee office after the fire. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Urban Milwaukee office after the fire. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

It’s been a tragic day, a trying week and a difficult year.

While a pandemic continues to claim thousands of lives across the globe and a protest movement grows in a push for justice and equality, Urban Milwaukee has been struck by tragedy.

Early Sunday morning a fire started in the Colby-Abbot Building, our home at 755 N. Milwaukee St. While it did not start in our office, our space was heavily damaged as firefighters rushed to put out the blaze.

We entered our second-floor space to find desks on top of one another, shelves thrown across the room, a partially melted printer and plenty of water.

We are thankful to members of the Milwaukee Fire Department for containing the fire, something that consumed over 30 firefighters for hours. We don’t know of any injuries and for that we are grateful. We are relieved to know the fire appears accidental, with no evidence of foul play.

The Colby-Abbot building after the fire. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Colby-Abbot building after the fire. File photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Our sister business Urban Milwaukee: The Store, a Milwaukee-themed gift shop, also lost all of its inventory and virtually all of its fixtures. With only a small bathroom dividing the store from the fire, what isn’t water damaged is heavily smoke damaged.

We must keep things in perspective. While there will be costs, both financial and of our limited time, the spotlight must remain on the defining issues in our community. We will continue to cover the pandemic and protests like we have before, hitting the streets to listen to what people have to say and analyzing the data to evaluate how Wisconsin’s fight against COVID-19 is going.

We need your support to rise again. We need your support to grow into a bigger voice for the city. We need you to become a paying member.

Your membership dollars go towards people, not profits. They help us pay more freelancers, turn freelancers into full-time reporters, upgrade our website and ultimately to continue to turn the spotlight on the city and its residents.

While a fire has devastated us, it won’t stop us. Your membership dollars continue to go to pay our staff, all of whom will continue to work remotely.

Amidst the chaos, we learned that Sunday, by 11:30 a.m., we had already eclipsed our biggest day of traffic in history. Our persistent coverage of the protest marches into the wee hours of the night has sent our traffic soaring this week.

Now if you’ll excuse us, it’s time to get back to work.


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13 thoughts on “Urban Milwaukee Burns, Will Rise Like a Phoenix”

  1. Bill Sell says:

    Sad, unfortunate. Thank you for the thoughtful response. One of my Bay View friends sends her offer to help clean; there will be others, I’m sure. If the reported facts hold up to the investigators, I will be happy it was not an intentional fire. Just stuff? or so we hope.

  2. Jeffjay60 says:

    Jeramey, Dave and Bruce, You have shown the strength of your will to complete the mission of informing your readers and filling a void in the communication of issues this city faces. I’m not talking about the countless hours you have spent covering the pandemic and the protest movements. I’m referring to the hours spent in any number of city or county meetings where I would bet you are the only member of the press covering the event.
    I often joke with friends that if I wanted to see Jeramey, I would just go to city hall, and sooner or later, he’d show up. From these ashes, you will also rise.

  3. Chris Rute says:

    Best wishes for a full recovery even better than before!

  4. lccfccoop2 says:

    I’m already a member. Can I buy a membership for someone else? How would I do that?

  5. Dave Reid says:

    @lccfccoop2 We will be announcing Gift Memberships shortly. When it’s ready I’ll send you the link. Thanks!!

  6. Larraine says:

    Jeramy, Dave and Bruce, we are here with you. I am proud to be a member. Tell me how else I can support you. We need your voice.🙏🏾❤️

  7. Dennis Grzezinski says:

    Best wishes for recovery and rebirth with even greater strength!

  8. Margaret Crowley says:

    I, too, would like to buy a gift membership. Please send me the link when it’s ready.

  9. Sarah Greenberg says:

    I’m so sorry Jeramey and the Urban Milwaukee team. I started reading Urban Milwaukee before I relocated here from DC and you’ve been an invaluable source of information for understanding the city and keeping up with the latest events. Take care of yourselves – it’s been a tough year.

  10. Linsey Sieger says:

    Also a proud and grateful member — and willing to make an additional contribution toward your recovery! Please let me (and others) how best to do that. Thank you for all of your work, Bruce, Dave and Jeramey!

  11. says:

    So sorry to learn of this horrible incident! We value you and Urban Milwaukee for all you do in keeping us informed on a daily basis. Best wishes to get back on your feet as quickly as possible! Glad to hear staff has not been effected financially.

  12. Edith Wagner says:

    So sorry to learn about your misfortune. Reunions magazine is closing its office and has countless work tables, desk chairs, file cabinets, shelves we’d be delighted to donate. Contact

  13. Janine Chambers says:

    Proud to be a member! What was the cause of the fire? I ask because it would be easy for SOME to automatically attribute it to arson, looting, rioting, etc. best to set the record straight.

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