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At around 12:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, a fire burned down the wooden patio/stairway connecting the gallery and theater at the D.C. Arts Center (DCAC) in Adams Morgan. Patrons on the roof at The Reef saw smoke rising from the building and alerted the fire department.
“We haven’t received the report from the fire department as to what the cause was, but the most popular theory is that it was from a lit cigarette,” says Kristina Bilonick, the office manager at DCAC. “That’s the only theory, unless the fire department says there was some electrical thing.” (The D.C. fire marshal’s office could not make any comment about the fire.)
DCAC is forced to close the gallery and theater for the weekend for repairs. Though neither space was affected, the entrances to each were slightly warped, and firemen were forced to break the lock and pry open the front door to get to the fire.
David William, the membership and development director for the Washington Project for the Arts\Corcoran, says that this is not the first time there’s been trouble in the breezeway between the space. “[DCAC director] B. Stanley already has some MacGyver, jury-rigged thing—‘Nail this board here to secure that door, then this board goes here’—so some similar event has happened in the past.”
The arts center is replacing the entire stair system, says Bilonick, and normal hours should resume by Wednesday. The Saturday and Sunday performances of Cannibal! the Musical, a show written by the creators of South Park and performed by Landless Theatre, will be shown at the Universalist National Memorial Church at 16th and S Streets NW. No word on whether scheduled performances of Home Fires—a one-woman show whose connection to the fire is in name alone—will also be rescheduled.