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Investigation after fire breaks out at St James Theatre

Thursday 9th July 2015

A large crew battling a fire at the historic St James Theatre in Auckland last night.

Photo: RNZ

The fire service are looking into what caused a fire to break out at Auckland's historic St James Theatre.

The St James, which is a category 1 historic building, had only just reopened after eight years, having closed when another fire damaged it in 2007.

More than a dozen fire engines, including specialist appliances, went to the fire, which began at about 10.30pm last night. No-one was in the building at the time.

At the height of the fire, smoke could be seen coming from the building's roof and a large turntable ladder was used to douse the theatre from above.

Fire service assistant area commander Barry Fox said crews managed to contain the fire to the basement, where it began.

There was also some damage to the foyer where crews had to break windows to get inside, he said.

Fire crews were at the scene overnight and investigators would look into the cause today. Fox said he could not say whether the fire was suspicious.

Auckland Notable Properties Trust, which helped to restore the theatre, was also hoping to take a look at the damage today.

Its principal trustee, Steve Bielby, said he was able to take a brief look last night.

“I went into the foyer and there's a little bit of broken glass and a little bit of smoke but other than that the foyer was okay,” he said.

A version of this story was first published on radionz.co.nz.



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