'Devastating': Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford burns to ground

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STRATFORD -

The historic Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford has burned to the ground. 

Officials say the fire started around 1 a.m. on Sunday, and could be seen for miles.

The Stratford fire and police departments, as well as EMS crews responded to the scene with aid from the Milford and Bridgeport fire departments.

Officials say that despite their quick action, the building is a total loss, bringing an end to 64 years of theatrical tradition.

No official cause has been released yet and no injuries were reported.

"The loss of this iconic and historic theater that holds a special place in the hearts of Stratford residents is devastating,” said Mayor Laura Hoydick. “Our first concern is ensuring safety, making sure the site is secured and that there is no further threat to public safety.”

The Shakespeare Theatre was a national icon, with its stage hosting the likes of Katherine Hepburn and Christopher Plummer.

State Reps. Joe Gresko and Phil Young say they had just applied for funding to renovate and improve the theatre, so seeing it burn down was heartbreaking. But the lawmakers say they will still push for funding, possibly to help rebuild the theater from scratch.

 

"As they say, you know, out of the ashes comes the phoenix,” says Rep. Gresko.

The state Fire Marshall’s Office says it is a K-9 unit to search for any accelerant that may have contributed to the fire.

Town officials are expected to hold a press conference Monday at town hall around 1 p.m. to discuss the fire.

 

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