Morehouse College is working with the Atlanta Fire Department to assess the damage caused by a lightning strike that ignited a fire on the roof of the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Aug. 30.
The fire was reported to the Morehouse College Department of Campus Safety at 7:14 p.m. Atlanta firefighters had to knock down doors and cut through the roof to extinguish the blaze.
The Joe and Emma Adams Concert Hall auditorium sustained smoke and water damage as crews raced to save the building. Dedicated Morehouse administrative leaders and staff quickly arrived on the scene to assess the damage and retrieve precious artwork and artifacts donated by the Ray Charles Foundation. Staff also protected musical instruments and production equipment from being destroyed.
Academic offices, classrooms, and music performance studios were not impacted by the fire, police said.
Morehouse will work with Aramark Facilities to begin repairs to the auditorium and other nearby areas. Restoration is expected to take up to three months or more depending on the extent of the water damage in the walls and floors.
No injuries were reported. A damage estimate is not available at this time.
The Ray Charles Performing Arts Center was dedicated in September 2010 as a world-class concert performance hall. It serves as a concert venue for the college and community, and a tribute to the life, legacy, and musical genius of the late Ray Charles, a 17-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, pianist, and composer.