Historic New Hampshire performance center evacuated mid-concert as raging fire breaks out, hundreds forced to flee

Historic New Hampshire performance center evacuated mid-concert as raging fire breaks out, hundreds forced to flee

PLYMOUTH, NH — Hundreds of concert-goers had to be evacuated from a historic New Hampshire performance center after a fire spread from nearby businesses and threatened to engulf the venue Saturday night.

Members of Plymouth Fire Rescue responded to Main Street around 9:10 p.m. for a fire at the former Peppercorn Natural Food Store and Downtown Pizza. Around 450 patrons at the Flying Monkey Performance Center for a concert had to be rushed out of the building.

Neither of the engulfed buildings were occupied at the time of the fire.

One Plymouth firefighter suffered a shoulder injury and was taken to Speare Memorial Hospital.

“Containing the fire proved to be a challenge due to the proximity of the buildings, as well as the fact that one building had multiple ceilings, and roof structures that had to be accessed. As the fire progressed in these void spaces, fire personnel were evacuated from the building and a defensive operation ensued,” Plymouth Fire Rescue said in a press release.

The Flying Monkey hosted a show by Foreigners Journey featuring special guest Constantine Maroulis, according to the Flying Monkey’s calendar.

Crews from Ashland, Bristol, Campton-Thornton, Waterville Valley, Holderness, New Hampton, Bridgewater, Hebron, Center Harbor, Meredith, Tilton-Northfield, Sanbornton, Rumney, Warren, Wentworth, and Woodstock also responded to the fire. The Lincoln FD, Stewarts Ambulance Service and Canann FD provided coverage.

Although the venue was lucky enough to only suffer minor smoke damage, the building will be closed for a days to clean up.

“We are so proud of our Flying Monkey staff who noticed the fire next door and took quick action to calmly and safely evacuate everyone from our building. They put guest and staff safety first and have our utmost respect for their heroic efforts,” The Flying Monkey wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately, some of the Monkey’s neighbors have suffered tragic losses, and Main Street in Plymouth will look different for some time. We will support them in their efforts to recover.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation by Plymouth Fire-Rescue and the New Hampshire State Fire Marshals Office.

“The fire companies are to be commended for holding this fire to the two buildings involved. The Manager of the Flying Monkey is also to be commended for discovering the fire, activating the fire alarm system at that location and notifying 911.” Plymouth Fire Chief Tom Morrison said in a statement.

“The Flying Monkey has been at the heart of historic Plymouth, New Hampshire since it opened as the “New Plymouth Theater” back in the 1920′s as a vaudeville and silent film theatre,” the building’s website reads. “After years of closure and falling into disrepair, The Common Man family in New Hampshire purchased and carefully renovated the theater in 2010, re-launching it as The Flying Monkey Movie House & Performance Center.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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