Highlands Fire & Rescue received a call at 9:22 a.m. this morning for a structure fire next door at the Highlands Playhouse located at 362 Oak Street, right between HFR and Highlands Police departments. Playhouse Artistic Director Bill Patti was on a phone call in the parking lot when he saw smoke coming from the building to the rear the Box Office and immediately called 911.
The cause of the fire is under investigation said HFR Chief Ryan Gearhart. No one was in the building at the time of the fire and there were no injuries.
The building to the rear of the campus is used to store set equipment and wardrobe and after inspection appears to be structurally sound.
“There’s some smoke and heat damage, but the structure was mostly metal so there’s not much damage there,” said Gearhart. “It was mostly content damage.”
HFR Firefighter and Town Commissioner Eric Pierson was the first on the scene and said the source was easy to locate upon entering the building.
“Right when I walked in the fire source was easy to spot in a back corner,” said Pierson. “But moving through the dark there was zero visibility and we had to go through all the clutter to get to the flames, then we just put it out with a hose.”
Playhouse staff walked through the theater portion of the Playhouse to check on the stacks of hay bales currently on stage for their current production of Oklahoma! Besides a slight odor of smoke, the stage appeared unscathed.
Cashiers-Glenville Volunteer Fire Department was also on scene providing support as policy with structure fires.
Highlands Playhouse is currently without power and has cancelled shows and movies for July 21. Management ask that patrons seeking refunds wait to contact the Playhouse on Tuesday.
Stay tuned as more information becomes available. For more information about the Highlands Playhouse click HERE.
Article by Brian O’Shea
Photos by Maggie Burd and Brian O’Shea
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