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'Sad loss': Fire destroys historic Seven Gables Theatre in Seattle's University District

The longtime theater in Seattle's University District has been closed, along with Guild 45th, for several years.

SEATTLE — The cause of a massive fire that ripped through a historic theatre in Seattle's University District remains under investigation.

The Seattle Fire Department responded to a three-alarm fire at the former Seven Gables Theatre in the University District on Thursday.

Around 11:45 a.m., smoke and flames were spotted from the roof of the vacant building, which is located at Roosevelt Way NE and NE 50th Street. 

Crews took defensive positions due to the fire's intensity. There are no reports of injuries and the cause is under investigation. 

The fire department reports, "More than 130 firefighters consisting of 14 fire engines, six ladder trucks and additional support units responded to the fire. Twenty minutes later, the roof began to collapse forcing crews to relocate their apparatuses to a safe distance."

Firefighters gained control of the flames by 2:10 p.m. but crews will remain at the scene overnight to monitor hot spots.

WATCH: Aerials of fire at Seven Gables Theatre

The former Seven Gables Theatre building, located at 911 NE 50th Street, closed in 2017 along with the Guild 45th.

Simone Barron lives in the neighborhood and used to attend shows at the longtime theatre, but said the city was not maintaining the property. 

“I knew that it was gonna happen," Barron said. "I’ve been telling the city for weeks, if not months, that there were people squatting in the building.” 

She continued, “What aggravates me the most is that they’ve known that people have been in this building for months and they refuse to get them out, they refuse to do anything about it.” 

The fire department has not reported what caused the fire. 

On Sept. 22, 2017, the City of Seattle Landmarks Preservation Board voted to approve Seven Gables Theatre as a landmark, with the exterior features of the building to remain preserved. 

Citing "decades of movies and memories," Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted "it is a sad loss in such a challenging year for the arts community."

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