LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – The Kentucky Center is closed to the public following a three-alarm fire on Wednesday. The center said the building appears to have "considerable" damage mostly due to water and smoke.
Christian Adelberg, the senior marketing manager for the center, said the building is closed to the public on Thursday and Friday. The following days after that will be determined.
Crews are currently working to assess the damage to the building. Adelberg said the center is "working hard, working fast."
According to Kim Baker with the Kentucky Center, the majority of the damage appears to be from water in the main lobby and street-level lobby. There is also minor water damage to two of the theaters at the center. The damaged theaters are Bomhard and Whitney Hall. There is minimal smoke damage and a plan is in place to work on getting the smell out of the theaters.
The three-alarm fire was reported just after 2 p.m. on Wednesday.
"Units arrived on scene, we did have smoke showing on the roof. We did have a report that there were contractors working on the roof structure which is a metal structure. It is insulating material underneath it. The fire, we do have a fire that is in a confined area between the exterior of the roof and the interior walls and ceiling structure inside the building," Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick said.
Adelberg said the following on Thursday morning.
"All things considered could have been a lot worse," Adelberg said.
Repairs were underway on the roof of the building at the time smoke was spotted on Wednesday. The repairs were specifically being conducted on the barrel roof part of the center, that is located above the building's lobby. That work was to address a roof leak, according to Adelberg.
Louisville Fire Cpt. Sal Melendez said a roof contractor was using a metal grinder which caused a spark and led to the fire.
At least 10 fire units were on the scene. The fire chief said they had crews on the outside and inside working to get to the fire. They had to cut open metal panels to access the fire. Frederick said due to the curved roof, the crews worked with caution.
The Kentucky Center released the following statement Thursday morning:
The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts sustained considerable damage on Wednesday when a fire started within its arched ceiling above the main lobby. The majority of damage appears to be water, confined mostly to the lobby area. We are currently assessing the damage to the entire facility and will determine when the building will reopen, as well as the impact on upcoming shows and events. Please note that despite the building being temporarily closed, tickets for upcoming performances can still be purchased through our website, www.kentuckycenter.org. We would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the men and women of the Louisville Metro Fire Department for their quick action and professionalism. We will continue to provide additional information once we have completed a full assessment of the situation. The Kentucky Center building, garage and box office will be closed today.
Everyone did make it out of the building safely on Wednesday when the fire started.
The phone lines to purchase tickets from the center are still down but they are expected to open Friday morning. Adelberg said customers can still purchase tickets online.
The Broadway musical Waitress is planned for June 16, and the Kentucky Center is optimistic that the show will go on and encourage people to buy tickets.
As for any changes to upcoming shows at the center, Adelberg said to follow them on their social media platforms. Anyone who has purchased tickets will be notified of changes through email or by phone.
The Kentucky Center opened in 1983. The center has three different theaters and has a capacity of more than three thousand seats.
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