Published May 02, 2012
ATLANTA – The cause of a fire that ripped through a simulated streetscape at the studios of Atlanta filmmaker Tyler Perry may never be known, Atlanta fire officials said Wednesday.
The Tuesday evening blaze at Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta will be recorded as undetermined, Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran said in an emailed statement.
"The intensity of the fire in the area of origin consumed any evidence that would lead to a cause of ignition," Cochran said.
There were no reports of injuries from the blaze that began shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday and burned through the exterior facade of a large building, Atlanta fire spokesman Capt. Jolyon Bundrige said.
"It was all in flames," Dorothy Ware, who lives in a high-rise apartment next door to the studio complex, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Flames shot as high as nearby trees that stand about as high as a six-story building, Ware said.
"The building started popping," Ware said. "Whatever the fire was hitting, was blowing up. There were plenty of sparks coming over here where we are."
More than 100 firefighters responded to the four-alarm blaze. Perry — whose films include "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," ''Why Did I Get Married?" and "Daddy's Little Girls" — was at the complex Tuesday night and spoke with Cochran.
The studio said Perry thanked Atlanta firefighters for their quick response and limiting the damage.
"We are grateful that there were no injuries, and that 99 percent of the damage is limited to the backlot facade," the statement said.
The fire never reached inside the building because of its concrete masonry construction behind the facade. However, there was some water damage inside, Bundrige told The Associated Press Wednesday morning.
The studio complex includes a 200,000-square-foot studio, five sound stages and a 400-seat theater in southwest Atlanta, according to its website.
The backlot street scene with simulated storefronts is known as "34th Street," after the famous Christmas film "Miracle on 34th Street."
The complex also includes a chapel, dining hall, gymnasium, an art department and a post-production facility where work on TV shows such as "Meet the Browns" was done.
In March, pop star Cee Lo performed for donors at the studios during a fundraiser for President Barack Obama.