The Lebowsky Center in Owosso has been destroyed after a fire tore through the theater late Tuesday night.
"The fire was placed under control at 1:30 in the morning but as far as putting it out? We're still mopping up hot spots at this time," said Captain Arthur Hart of the Owosso Fire Department.
Crews are still battling smoke and now breaking down ice for the gallons of water poured onto the building. The theater was being renovated and was the home of countless productions for decades. It was a community landmark and the fire still has residents in shock.
"I think it's a devastating blow to the community," said resident Burton Fox. "It's another vacant corner, it's another disaster downtown in a city that's trying to come back.
"This was kind of the cultural center," said Corunna band director Lyle Brooks. "It's going to be a loss. A big loss as far as the fine arts go."
Investigators say no one was in the building at the time of the fire. Members of the Owosso Community Players had been rehearsing just hours earlier for their production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, set to open late next week.
"They had all left and thankfully they were out of the building," said Mike Kruszaowski of the Owosso Community Players.
The loss of the theater now has the players looking for another location.
"We're in the process of trying to find a venue and were going to try to put this play on," Kruszaowski added. "There's a lot of ifs, ands, and buts right now but we've got a lot of support so the show must go on."
As for a cause? Arson hasn't be ruled out, but it could be months before it's determined.
"It's gonna still be under investigation for quite some time i believe," Hart said.