A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods

 

Taproot Theatre escapes fire, but suffers extensive smoke and water damage

October 23rd, 2009 · No Comments

Update 1:15 p.m.: Taproot Theatre is holding Saturday’s performances of “Enchanted April” at Seattle Children’s Theatre at the Seattle Center at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Tonight’s performance has been canceled.)

Patrons who have tickets for tonight’s performance may choose to attend either of tomorrow’s performances. Taproot Theatre is calling patrons who have tickets to the remaining shows to let them know about the change. Due to the high volume of calls, please wait to hear from us. Please do not call Seattle Children’s Theatre.

The performances will have festival seating, on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional tickets will be available to purchase immediately prior to performances, cash or check only. Seattle Children’s Theatre is located at 201 Thomas Street at Seattle Center.

Thank you to all the theatres and arts organizations who have stepped up to offer support and alternative locations during this time. The Seattle theatre community has been incredibly generous.

Please check our website, taproottheatre.org, for the most current information.

Earlier today I spoke with Taproot Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Scott Nolte on the scene of this morning’s devastating fire in downtown Greenwood.

Nolte said the theater escaped actual fire damage, but there’s quite a bit of smoke and water damage in certain areas. “There’s a lot of water damage and collapsed ceilings in the upper lobby,” he said. Here’s a photo of the upper lobby, where you can see what had been the ceiling is a big mushy mess on the floor. (Photo courtesy of Taproot, and you can see more on Taproot’s website.)

Fire fighters also punched holes in the walls between Taproot and Pho Tic Tac while fighting the fire. The fire wall between the businesses is “old school,” as Nolte put it, with a series of 2×4’s. “If anything, they’re just trying to watch the void there,” in between the walls, he said.

Taproot had about two inches of water in the basement. While the costume shop is in the basement, most everything is up off the floor, so not much was damaged. When I stopped by this morning, they were taking out a large painting and a few other items to make sure they didn’t get damaged. Firefighters even put tarps over the desks in the basement to try to keep them dry. “God bless ’em, they’ve done what they could,” Nolte said.

Luckily, the auditorium suffered only minimal damage, from what they can tell, with a few inches of water on the floor near the stage.

“There’s going to be significant repair to the two lobbies. But it could have been a lot worse,” he said. “Structurally the building’s fine, but it smells like a barbecue.”

And Greenwood Avenue is still closed off for several blocks, so avoid that area for now. Yellow caution tape is keeping bystanders safely back. (Thanks, Dean, for the photos!)

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