IMAGES | Fire damages Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A big fire brings busy downtown Louisville to a halt.

Emergency crews responded to a report of a fire at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts just after 2 p.m Wednesday. Smokey haze filled the streets of downtown Louisville as people came out of their offices to see what was happening.

Crews working to repair a leak on the roof of the main lobby noticed smoke. Smoke could be seen pouring from the center for at least an hour. 

Thursday morning, the Kentucky Center released the following statement:

“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, 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.”

A spokesperson for the venue says renovation work in the lobby area has been underway for a couple of weeks. According to the spokesperson, the building was evacuated. No one was injured. 

Fire crews worked tirelessly on the roof for hours in the heat and humidity. Flames were stuck between the walls and the roof. The fire was under control by about 5:30 p.m. 

"This is extremely sad, it really is. It’s no joke. It is very, very sad," said Bret Murray who visiting Louisville from Tennessee. 

Louisville Fire Chief Greg Frederick said, "anytime you have those kind of smoke conditions in a building like this, it's going to cause some significant damage."

Those who watched it unfold this afternoon are hoping for the best. This building has a lot on the calendar in the coming weeks, including the opening of "Waitress."

PNC Broadway president Leslie Broecker said they will work to make the show happen.  "We don't want the community to miss it, so we're going to try and pull out all the stops and see what our options are."

The Kentucky Center said on social media it is closed until they can access the damage. Ticket are still being sold online. 

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