The loss of the iconic Shakespeare Theater in an overnight three-alarm fire described as "devastating" for the Stratford community by Mayor Laura Hoydick, who announced state officials have joined the investigation.
Flames shooting up in the air could be seen for miles after the blaze engulfed the entire building around 1 a.m. Sunday at 320 Shore Road, east of I-95 and alongside the Housatonic River.
No injuries were reported.
The theater, which burned to the ground, had a proud history dating back to 1955. Though it closed in 1989, it remained a landmark in the area.
Stars such as Katherine Hepburn, James Earl Jones, Hal Holbrooke, Ed Asner Christopher Walken and Kim Hunter all performed at the theater.
“The loss of this iconic and historic theater that holds a special place in the hearts of Stratford residents is devastating,” Hoydick said. "Our first concern is ensuring safety, making sure the site is secured and that there is no further threat to public safety."
The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation and state officials are also involved.
The state Fire Marshal’s office deployed a canine unit to the site on Sunday morning to search for any accelerants that may have contributed to the fire, Hoydick said.
Stratford fire, police and EMS crews responded, aided by the Milford and Bridgeport fire departments.
“I want to thank the dedicated personnel of our Fire, Police and EMS departments as well as those from neighboring Milford and Bridgeport for their quick actions to keep our residents safe in response to this emergency, and I would also like to extend my thanks to the emergency responders in Fairfield, Shelton and Bridgeport who assisted with town-wide coverage in Stratford while our assets were deployed,” Hoydick added.
This is a developing story. Check back to Daily Voice for updates.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.