May 2, 2012 at 8:21 AM ET
More than 100 firefighters, 13 engines and 12 trucks responded to a four-alarm fire at Tyler Perry’s studio complex in Atlanta on Tuesday night, the source of which has yet to be determined.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an emergency call was placed at 8:41 p.m. when the first alarm was sounded, and a fire rescue team arrived minutes later. Upon their entrance, the second and third alarms went off, with multiple buildings involved in the blaze. At the sound of the fourth alarm, reinforcement teams were dispatched from three other counties, and the fire was brought under control approximately an hour after the first crew had arrived. Fire officials said there was partial collapse to the front area of one building.
"It was all in flames," Dorothy Ware, who lives in a high-rise apartment next door to the studio complex, told The AJC.
Ware said the flames “shot as high as nearby trees,” roughly equivalent to the height of a six-story building, and further remarked, "The building started popping. Whatever the fire was hitting, was blowing up. There were plenty of sparks coming over here where we are."
Perry and his staff were on site while the fire was extinguished, and left the premises around 11 p.m. with instruction not to speak with the media. No injuries have been reported at this time, though the fire forced dozens of senior citizens out of a nearby assisted living facility, reports CBS affiliate WSB-TV.
In a statement to Forbes, a spokesperson for Perry commented Wednesday, "Atlanta firefighters responded immediately to a fire which damaged the backlot façade of one of the buildings at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. We are grateful that there were no injuries, and that 99 percent of the damage is limited to the backlot facade. Mr. Perry wishes to express his heartfelt thanks to the Atlanta fire department for their professionalism in their quick response and limiting the damage."
According to Perry’s studio site, the multi-million dollar premises, located in Southwest Atlanta, cover 60 acres and include five sound stages, a 5-acre pond, a theater, chapel, commissary, a gymnasium, art department, and post-production facility. My Fox Atlanta reported Wednesday that fire trucks circled “what appeared to be the Ruby Dee-Ossie Davis studio, the Cicely Tyson studio and the Sidney Poitier studio,” and authorities told WSB-TV they believed the fire began on a four-story sound stage, which was severely damaged, but that they were investigating the matter.
The studio is reportedly functioning despite the blaze, and suffered primarily exterior damage, with some water damage on its interior.
Reports AJC, at least one fire truck remained at the studios at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday.