Massive fire destroys Shakespeare American Theater in Stratford Connecticut


STRATFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A historic theater in Stratford went up in flames early Sunday morning.

The Stratford Fire Department responded to several calls shortly before 1:00 a.m. Several residents witnessed a huge fire taking place across the water at the Shakespeare American Theater located at 320 Shore Road.

Through numerous pictures and videos, several viewers reported seeing flames shooting up into the air. The flames could be seen from several hundred feet away. 

Crews with the Milford Fire Department confirmed to News 8 that a total of four units were sent to aid Stratford in the fire. The Bridgeport Fire Department also sent crews.

“It was pretty much done when we arrived. It was a defensive attack,” explained Stratford Fire Marshal Brian Lampart.

“The loss of this iconic and historic theater that holds a special place in the hearts of Stratford residents is devastating,” said Stratford 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. This fire continues to be under investigation to determine the exact cause of this fire, and we will be working in concert with state officials in that effort…”

“The tragic loss of our theater, an integral part of our community history, is devastating. Not only is this an enormous loss for Stratford, but also for our entire state. The Shakespeare Theatre was a cultural and artistic icon. Its history is something we must never forget,” added State Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford). “As a Stratford resident and longtime advocate for preserving the landmark, today is particularly heartbreaking. The paramount focus right now must be on public safety and I want to thank all the first responders, fire, police and EMS who are working to ensure the public remains safe.” 

People in the community are also devastated about the loss and described the frightening scene.

“At about 1:30 last night, my wife woke me up in an agitated state to say the theater was on fire. I looked out the window, saw the night sky glowing red. I immediately got dressed came out to have a look. It was a massive inferno, really only seen anything like this on TV,” explained Declan Prenty.

The theater is undoubtedly a piece of history. Actors including Katharine Hepburn, James Earl Jones and Christopher Walken were involved in the theater company.

Some celebrities with ties to the historic theater tweeted about the blaze.

Thankfully, no one was hurt.

The big question now is what started the fire. Crews are just beginning what could be a lengthy investigation.

View stunning photos of the blaze taken by Joey Febus below:

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