EDMONTON - A huge fire has brought down the curtain on a historic theatre that traced its roots back to the late 1930s.
Flames erupted overnight Monday at the Roxy Theatre in Edmonton and sent thick clouds of smoke into the air.
The building was engulfed when firefighters arrived at the west-central location and a second alarm was quickly declared.
The building's walls eventually collapsed. A burned-out shell was all that remained by lunchtime Tuesday.
"It's a tough old fire,'' said deputy fire chief Barry Lamb. "There was a bit of a twinge this morning when I heard it was the Roxy. It is a big part of our city, so it is sad.''
The theatre was built in 1938 as a cinema, but was converted to a live-performance venue in the late 1980s.
Theatre Network, which owns the Roxy, had been celebrating its 40th season as a company.
The Roxy's next show "Cheerleader!'' was to open for a 10-day run on Thursday.
Writer and producer Morgan Smith said the historic theatre was a good place for independent artists.
"It's not just a loss for my company. It's a loss for Edmonton's theatre community,'' she said. "The Roxy performance series gave independent artists a place where they could put up a show on a main stage without having to pay huge rental fees.''
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson tweeted his dismay.
"Mourning the loss of the landmark,'' the mayor said. `"We're here to help with recovery.''
There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire.
There were no reports of any injuries.
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