Tyler Perry Studios was struck by a four-alarm blaze that damaged a portion of the Atlanta building’s sound stages, according to city fire officials. No one was hurt in the fire.
According to the Associated Press, the fire started just before 9 p.m. May 1, and was extinguished about an hour later.
Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin J. Cochran told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the damage was so intense that that the cause of the fire was labeled as “undetermined.”
“The intensity of the fire in the area of origin consumed any evidence that would lead to a cause of ignition,” he said.
While the building’s interior was protected from the flames by concrete masonry construction, it did suffer some water damage, fire officials told CNN.
The morning after the incident, Perry’s publicist released a statement thanking the Atlanta Fire Department, according to the Journal-Constitution.
“We are grateful that there were no injuries, and that 99 percent of the damage is limited to the backlot facade, the statement read. “Mr. Perry wishes to express his heartfelt thanks to the Atlanta Fire Department for their professionalism in their quick response and limiting damage.”
The damaged facade is used to shoot city street scenes for his movies, including the “Madea” franchise. The entire complex includes a 200,000-square-foot studio, five soundstages and a 400-seat theater. Each soundstage is named after renowned African-American actors including Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier.
The southwestern Atlanta complex is notorious for having strict security.
According to the Journal-Constitution, employees are required to sign confidentiality agreements and extras are only permitted inside the complex if they are selected in advance and can provide legal ID.
“They make you sign a lot of confidentiality stuff at security,” one former extra told the newspaper. “If they find you took a photo, you will be kicked out. Perry is super strict about that stuff.”
The multimillion-dollar studio opened for production four years ago and is also used to film Perry’s sitcoms “For Better, or for Worse,” “House of Payne” and “Meet the Browns.”