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Fox Theatre Fire

10:45 PM, May 15, 2011   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) - A three-alarm blaze shut down the historic Fox Theatre Sunday morning, cancelling two performances of the Jersey Boys.


The first fire alarm went off inside the Fox theatre just before 5 am.  Firefighters were on scene within minutes.


"When they made entry into the building, they had heavy smoke," St. Louis fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said.  "Heavy enough it ended up going to three alarms. They couldn't even see across the face of the Fox.  It was thick."

Firefighters quickly located the fire in a hard-to-reach mechanical room on the fifth floor, right above the lobby.  The biggest challenge was to stop it from spreading.


"To get lines laid to that remote area, they confined it to the area that was first burning," said fire department public information officer, Captain Dan Sutter.  "It's remarkable.  They did a great job."

Most of the damage was confined to the lobby area, although there was smoke throughout the building.


"In the auditorium itself, where the public would view shows, there's smoke banked in all the way down to the stage and the orchestra pit," Sutter said.

By Sunday afternoon, the smoke was gone, but it was clear to Fox officials that they'd have to cancel Sunday's performances.


"There's some water in the lobby, that needs to get cleaned up and then smoke gets in the air, they need to alleviate the smoke smell," said the Fox's Vice President of marketing, Jana Scharnhorst.

Restoration crews were on scene almost as soon as the fire department left.  They caught a little bit of a break because the Fox doesn't have any regularly scheduled shows on Monday.  So they have a little extra time to get everything restored in time for Tuesday's performance.


Next door at the City Diner, employees are hoping everything will be ready to go by then.


"We just hope the Fox is okay and we can have the shows," said waitress Virginia Cliff.  "We do really well when we have them."

Fox officials know the show must go on.  So now, the biggest priority is making sure that happens.


"We certainly want our customers and the cast and crew of Jersey Boys to have the best possible working conditions for the show to go on," Scharnhorst said.  "It's such a fabulous show and I know the fans of Jersey Boys would love to see it."

If you have tickets to Sunday's matinee and evening performances, you can exchange your tickets for one of the 16 remaining shows.  Ticketholders are asked to go to the Fox theatre box office or call Metrotix at 314-534-1111.  Fox officials say they will work with anyone who cannot reschedule. 


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