Alley Theatre evacuated after fire breaks out in building

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter, Nakia Cooper - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - The Alley Theatre was evacuated Thursday morning after a fire broke out in the building.

An electrical fire started on the top floor near A/C ductwork repairs, sending heavy smoke into the downtown skies.

Only construction crews were in the building for renovations when the fire began, and they were immediately evacuated.

Dozens of firefighters worked to put out a fire in the Alley Theatre as smoke billowed out the top. Houston firefighters pulled a second alarm so additional help could be brought in.

Texas Avenue and Louisiana Street were shut down while crews work the scene.

"I was very sad as soon as I realized it was the Alley Theatre... It was coming out of the top so hopefully the theater itself is OK," said witness Kathleen Cejka.

The managing director says the multimillion dollar renovation started in July and workers were inside demolishing concrete and cutting steel when the fire started. The theatre is expected to reopen in the location in two years. He does not expect the fire to cause a delay.

"It was pretty shocking to see smoke coming out of the building when I knew there wasn't a whole lot to catch fire inside the building. So I wanted to make sure all of the workers were safe," said Dean Gladden.

Houston firefighters say all of the workers are safe. Firefighters worked on top of the building where the smoke poured through the duct work. All of these trucks and firefighters were a result of a 2-alarm fire on a hot day in the concrete canyons of downtown.

"Purely for the size and it was under renovation could make it a dangerous area for firefighters.  So we called for a second alarm," said Sr. Capt. Ruy Lozano, with the Houston Fire Department.

All of the Alley Theatre performances for 2014-2015 are taking place at the University of Houston. Work on the project is expected to be completed by summer 2015.

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