Fire Damages Historic Theater in New Hampshire


Fire officials said they were investigating a fire that destroyed a historic building at the site of the Weathervane Theatre in Whitefield early Monday morning.

The structure that burned was the original theater that opened nearly 50 years ago, but the managing director said it had been used lately as storage after a new theater was built next door.

"It was our theater, our theater, where we welcomed people for 10 weeks every summer," said Marsha Stewart, who performed at the theater. "It's very sad."

"We've lost an incredible piece of our history, part of who we are, but like anyone else who gets through any kind of devastation, our buildings are material stuff and not what defines us," said Lyn Winter, the managing director of the theater.

Winter said she applauded firefighters who managed to keep the flames from destroying the new theater. Fire officials said three firefighters suffered minor injuries, including a sprained ankle and minor burns.

"The fire service did the most amazing job imaginable in terms of preventing that fire from doing any damage to the main theater structure," Winter said.

Winter also said firefighters were able to save historic artifacts from the theater, including the original weathervane.

"It was pretty neat to hear the association applaud in the background when he pulled it out of the rubble, and it looks like it can be repaired," said Fire Chief James Watkins.

The fire remains under investigation.

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