Historic theater in Leachville damaged in fire

LEACHVILLE, AR (KAIT) - A historic building in the Leachville community caught fire early Wednesday morning.

According to Mayor Ralph Wells, it was lightning bad through the city overnight. However, he said they were prepared for the storm to come through.

But, Wells said around 4 a.m., lightning struck the Melody Theater, hitting the transformer or electrical wires, which caused severe damage to the building.

The mayor said the city's fire and police department were notified immediately. Wells said they were able to save the building, but there is a lot of damage found inside.

"We have a lot of smoke damage," he said. "And lot of burned damage back on the stage area; and where our expensive lighting was. It's a lot of damage to us."

Wells said they had a gospel concert set for this Friday at the theater. However, he says they will move the concert to the old high school building.

However, Wells said they're currently insured with the Arkansas Municipal League. But, he said the city doesn't know the details yet of the estimated cost to fix the damages. He said they will be notified in a few days.

"It's been here since 1948," he said.  It's been a part of the community. A lot of the people have attended movies here. We've also had different performances. A lot of people have fond memories of it and went to movies here when they were children. I remember standing in line out here when I was 14-years-old coming to the movies...You just grow attached to something like this and you miss it. And I know it's going to be a great loss to us to get it repaired."

He said Gary Thrasher's Jubilee Show feat. Anchored Hearts; and Mark Thrasher and Products of Grace will still be in attendance to perform on Mar. 3, at 7 p.m.

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