LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It is unclear how much damage was left behind after a fire broke out at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville on Wednesday afternoon.
A contractor working to repair the roof accidentally started the fire just after 2 p.m.
A total of 70 firefighters were called in and it took them three hours to get the fire under control.
Christian Adelberg with the Kentucky Center said there is water damage to the main lobby, but his team has not been able to do a full assessment.
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Adelberg was with dozens of other onlookers watching as smoke poured from the roof of the building.
"We happen to notice all the emergency equipment and services, so we thought something really bad was going on," Billie Wieland said.
From Main Street, crews could be seen straddling the building's signature barrel roof. Firefighters cut through the newly renovated cooper coating, releasing smoke from the roof's layers.
"Crews have been working to repair damage to the barrel roof that was done by a roof leak," Adelberg said.
Adelberg said two years ago work began on a $1.1 million roof renovation project.
The contractor was working on the interior roof when sparks from a metal grinder ignited insulation. Adelberg said water damage in the lobby is expected.
One group hopes it won't affect the performances they had planned.
"'Waitress' is a beautiful, wonderful show I don't want the city to miss it," Leslie Broecker, president of PNC Broadway in Louisville, said.
Broecker said 17,000 people bought tickets to see "Waitress" at the Kentucky Center the last week of June. She is happy no one was injured and has hope in the venue.
"If anyone can pull off a restore it's the people at the Kentucky Center," she said. "So we will wait and talk to them tomorrow and then we will notify patrons of what the options are."
The fire did not spread to the lobby, but the Kentucky Center will be closed on Thursday.
The Kentucky Center released the following statement Thursday morning:
"The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts sustained considerable damage on Wednesday when a fire started within its arched ceiling above the main lobby. The majority of damage appears to be water, confined mostly to the lobby area. We are currently assessing the damage to the entire facility and will determine when the building will reopen, as well as the impact on upcoming shows and events. Please note that despite the building being temporarily closed, tickets for upcoming performances can still be purchased through our website, www.kentuckycenter.org. We would like to express our sincerest appreciation to the men and women of the Louisville Metro Fire Department for their quick action and professionalism. We will continue to provide additional information once we have completed a full assessment of the situation. The Kentucky Center building, garage and box office will be closed today."