We may never know what caused the massive fire at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta on Tuesday. After putting out the blaze and examining the damage, Atlanta’s fire chief said on Wednesday (May 2) afternoon that the damage was so intense that officials don’t think they will be able to find the source of the blaze.
“The cause of the fire will be recorded as undetermined,” Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran said in a statement, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The intensity of the fire in the area of origin consumed any evidence that would lead to a cause of ignition.”
The fire damaged the exterior of one building in the center of the 30-acre, 200,000 square-foot complex, but thanks to the construction materials, it did not reach into the interior, which did, however, suffer some water damage from firefighting efforts. More than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, which quickly grew to four alarms. The decision to escalate the call to the highest level is credited with helping to stem the spread of the flames to other buildings in the studio lot owned by Perry. No injuries were reported in the response to the emergency.
At the time of the fire, Perry was at his nearby Continental Colony Parkway complex and did not speak to reporters, instructing his employees to avoid the media as well. But late Wednesday morning a spokeswoman for the studios issued a statement from Perry praising the work of the firefighters.
“Atlanta firefighters responded immediately to a fire which damaged the backlot façade of one of the buildings at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta,” it read. “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.”
Perry has not made a public appearance since the fire, but some of his bold-name pals have reached out to offer support. Oprah Winfrey tweeted a message on Wednesday, writing, “I think my friend and younger big brother Tyler Perry … His back lot studio was damaged by fire last night. His attitude in the midst of it all was calm and feeling blessed no one was injured. Real grace under fire.
Several actresses who’ve appeared in Perry’s films also reached out, including Kerry Washington (“For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf”), who said, “Sending prayers out to everybody at Tyler Perry Studios! Such a special place! XO — I’m grateful no one was hurt!”
Gabrielle Union (“Good Deeds”), tweeted, “The fire at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta is hurting my heart for all the hardworking people who create magic there and feed their families.”