The collapsed remnants of the Trimvirate Theatre can be seen on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned down in an early morning fire on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Joe Rizzo)

The collapsed remnants of the Trimvirate Theatre can be seen on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned down in an early morning fire on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Joe Rizzo)

Triumvirate Theatre burns down

The building is a total loss.

The Triumvirate Theatre in Nikiski is reportedly a “total loss” following a Saturday morning fire at the community playhouse.

Alaska State Troopers were notified of the fire at approximately 3:15 a.m. by a passerby, who reported that a commercial building near Mile 16 of the Kenai Spur Highway was “fully engulfed” in flames, according to a Saturday trooper dispatch.

Fire personnel from Nikiski, Kenai and Soldotna responded. According to the trooper dispatch, initial estimates place losses near $500,000. There were no injuries. The state Fire Marshall’s Office is investigating the origin of the fire, the dispatch said.

Joe Rizzo, executive director of the theater, told the Clarion on Saturday that he was alerted to the fire at about 3:30 a.m. By the time he arrived at the theater, fire personnel had responded to the scene. He said the south side of the building had already collapsed on top of itself.

“It’s a total loss,” he said.

Rizzo called the fire “devastating,” and said he’s not sure what the next steps for the theater will be. The theater group has been focused mainly on radio productions due to the pandemic, but was hoping to be performing plays by the fall, depending on the state of the pandemic, he said.

“At this point it’s all pretty new,” Rizzo said. “It’s hard to say where we’re going to be at in September.”

Rizzo said the theater has already received an outpouring of support from the community and thanked them for their support.

Kenai Performers released a statement on Facebook pledging to dedicate the donations given during the group’s current production of T.S. Eliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral” toward the Triumvirate.

In a statement on its Facebook page, the Triumvirate Theatre said its board would work to “move forward in an organized and transparent way to marshal the generosity and good will of our community in rebuilding the theatre and continuing our mission of providing the performing arts for actors and audiences of all ages.”

The building is owned by North Road Properties, an entity created to house the theater’s activities, according to the statement.

The building does carry insurance and the group will meet Monday to go over the policy and discuss coverage of the theater’s equipment, furnishings and artwork, the statement said.

A call to the Nikiski Fire Station was not returned as of press time Saturday.

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