BECKET (CBS/AP) — A fire at the renowned Jacob’s Pillow dance center in Massachusetts destroyed a theater building early Tuesday, but no one was hurt. The fire at the Doris Duke Theatre was reported at about 7 a.m., Becket Fire Chief Paul Mikaniewicz told The Berkshire Eagle.
Firefighters arrived to find flames on the right side of the building. A short time later, the 30-year-old, 216-seat wooden theater went up in flames with sound that Mikaniewicz described as like a tornado.
A hydrant on the property wasn’t working, so firefighters had to shuttle water in and get water from a nearby pond, he said.
About 30 firefighters from several area fire departments responded. The fire department in nearby Monterey posted a photo to Facebook showing the flames.
The state Fire Marshal’s office is investigating. The cause has not been determined.
“While we have lost some precious, irreplaceable items, those experiences and memories will last forever,” Pamela Tatge, Jacob’s Pillow’s artistic and executive director said in a statement. “We are heartbroken and we are relieved that no one was hurt.”
She said the organization will rebuild. There is another, larger theater on the grounds.
The Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield has set up a “rescue fund” for Jacob’s Pillow. Click here to make a donation.
Jacob’s Pillow canceled its 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the organization recently opened studio and housing spaces to a small number of artists for COVID-compliant residencies.
The center dates to 1933. The 220-acre Jacob’s Pillow property was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 2003.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)