OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – “It’s hard for me to think about it right now,” said executive artistic director with the Carpenter Square Theatre, Rhonda Clark.
It’s an emotional time for those with the theatre.
The place that used to hold so many memories, now burnt to ash.
“All the plays that those things were used for and the people that were involved in those plays, so there’s that kind of emotional connection – it’s not just stuff… it’s what we did with the stuff,” said Clark.
Oklahoma City Fire crews rushed to the scene around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
They were just one block away, but by the time they arrived, flames and smoke engulfed the building.
“Pretty heavy fire load inside this building. It really has made for an intense fire, with a lot of heat, a lot of flame production a lot of smoke production,” said Batt. Chief Benny Fulkerson with OKCFD.
The theatre says it was a place they would go to pick out props and costumes for the next show.
“It was a lot of stuff,” said board chair Rick Allen Lippert.
Now, they’ll have to start from scratch.
“We lost everything. We lost all of our furniture, props, costumes that we’ve accumulated for 37 years,” said Allen-Lippert.
Steve Mason has owned the building for 7 years.
“You wake up this morning with a lot of sadness and depression like ‘oh heck,'” said Mason.
He’s been involved with the arts for years.
He says this particular location was full of history.
“The building was built in the 1920s and it’s most prominent tenant was Kilpatrick Lumber Company,” he said.
Fire crews did have to rescue one woman from inside but Mason said no one was supposed to be there.
“Monday, we had re-secured the building from a homeless entry which we do about twice a year… so, one would conclude if it wasn’t us, it was probably the homeless person,” said Mason.
Now the theatre will focus all of the attention on their new location on Reno.
“We will rise from the ashes and make magic again,” said Allen-Lippert.
Fulkerson said the Fire Department roughly estimates that the blaze caused a combined property and content loss of approximately $932,000. However, he said he was told that the insurance company has estimated the loss to be as high as $2 million.
Firefighters were at the scene until mid-Wednesday morning snuffing out hot spots to ensure that the fire would not reignite.
Fire crews deemed the cause of the fire as “undetermined.” Fulkerson said they were unable to make a conclusive determination on how the fire started. The woman rescued from inside was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
Here’s a video of the rescue that was posted on the Oklahoma City Fire Department’s Facebook page: