Early morning fire engulfs former Allen Theater in Takoma Park
Current clothing and shoe store perishes in massive blaze
Reported by a passerby at about 2:30 a.m., the fire quickly spread in the former Allen Theater at 6822 New Hampshire Ave. Firefighters from the Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department as well as Prince George's and Montgomery county teams coordinated efforts to quench the flames after the address was originally given for the 6700 block of New Hampshire, which is in Prince George's County, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Capt. Oscar Garcia.
Approximately 125 firefighters participated in the three-hour battle to put out the fire, Garcia said.
"They did have significant fires on the first floor of this building extending to other areas of the store," Garcia said. "At least three of the walls were still standing [after the fire], however due to the instability of them, they were eventually knocked down. ... Essentially, the building is going to be demolished."
There were no significant injuries from the fire. First responders originally feared someone was trapped inside, because there was a car in the parking lot when firefighters arrived on the scene. The owner of the vehicle was eventually found unharmed outside of the building, Garcia said, adding that investigators still do not know what caused the fire.
"At this point the origin and the cause is going to be left undetermined," he said.
Originally built in 1950, the theater had been converted into the Gussini Fashion & Shoes store. Not much of the building remains on the site after the fire, which caused an estimated $950,000 in damages, according to Garcia.