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Writers Theatre in Glencoe Construction Site Catches Fire

Renovations on a new performance space began in October 2014.

An image from the fire at the Writers Theatre in Glencoe.
(© Karie Angell Luc)

The construction site of the new Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois, was damaged during a fire on Thursday afternoon. One person was injured and was transported to Highland Park Hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation.

The fire began at approximately 3pm at the construction site, located at 325 Tudor Court. It was largely subdued by 4:20pm and completely extinguished by 5:20pm. The village's Public Safety Department was assisted by firefighters from Glenview, Northfield, Northbrook, and Winnetka. According to a statement released by Glencoe officials, the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Writers Theatre artistic director Michael Halberstam said in a telephone interview with the Chicago Tribune that the fire "seems to be contained to a small area of the theater, near the roof line of the production suites."

"We think the structure remains intact," executive director Kate Lipuma said, adding, "it was still scary, seeing all that smoke."

Designed by internationally renowned architect Jeanne Gang, the $34 million Writers Theatre Center plans to feature a 36,000-square-foot center at the site of the former Glencoe Women's Library Club, with two performance venues: a 250-seat main stage and a smaller black box theater with seating for 50 to 99 people. Construction on the two-story building began in October 2014, with plans to open for its first production in early 2016. Halberstam claims it is "too early to know" if the fire would delay the construction schedule, but based on what he saw, he does not predict a major setback.

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