Entries in Fire (9)


Fire at Tyler Perry's Studio Caused by 'Careless Smoking'

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The latest fire at Tyler Perry's studios in Atlanta was caused by "careless smoking," according to fire investigators. Currently, no one is facing criminal charges in connection with the incident.

Monday's fire was confined to a roof of a building at the complex that is undergoing repairs. No injuries were reported, and the building did not suffer structural damage.

In early May, a building at the complex partially collapsed due to a fire. It's unclear if Monday's fire occurred at the same building.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Another Fire at Tyler Perry's Atlanta Studios

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A fire broke out at Tyler Perry's studios in Atlanta on Monday -- the second blaze there in four months.

A fire department spokeswoman tells The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Monday's fire was confined to a roof of a building at the complex that is undergoing repairs. The building did not suffer any structural damage. No injuries were reported.

Authorities continue to investigate the fire.

In early May, a building at the complex partially collapsed due to a fire.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tyler Perry's Latest Woes 

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(ATLANTA, Ga.) -- Tyler Perry is no stranger to trouble.

After overcoming a traumatic childhood and months of homelessness as a struggling artist, the 42-year-old movie mogul faces new problems—racial profiling and, most recently, a four-alarm fire at his Atlanta movie studio.

"Atlanta firefighters responded immediately to a fire that damaged the backlot facade of one of the buildings at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta," Perry's spokeswoman said in a statement to "We are grateful that there were no injuries, and that 99 percent of the damage is limited to the backlot facade. Mr. Perry wishes to express his heartfelt thanks to the Atlanta fire department for its professionalism in their quick response and limiting the damage."

Officials are still investigating the cause of Tuesday’s blaze, which brought more than 100 firefighters and took an hour to extinguish, Atlanta Fire Department spokesman J.L. Bundrige told Bundrige said it's too early to know whether the fire was considered suspicious or accidental.

Perry named his backlot 34th Street, as in the movie Miracle on 34th Street. He has called his 200,000-square-foot studio, situated on 30 acres, which opened in 2008 and is home to five sound stages and a 400-seat theater, a "miracle."

Like the legendary Madea, the loud-talking, gun-toting grandmother Perry played in his successful stage shows and films, including Diary of Mad Black Woman and Madea's Family Reunion, Perry often invokes God and his faith for helping him through his greatest challenges.

"I always thought I would die before I grew up," he wrote in a 2009 uncharacteristically somber letter to fans on his website.

After watching a screening of the movie Precious, which he executive produced with Oprah Winfrey, about a 16-year-old girl who is physically and emotionally abused, the New Orleans native revealed that it was like "a large part of my childhood had just played out before my eyes."

In the letter, Perry recounted a horrific list of beatings and hardships, including the time his father whipped him with the vacuum cleaner extension cord "until the skin was coming off my back."

He also revealed that he was sexually molested by a number of adults, both male and female.

Later, in a 2010 interview with Winfrey, he recalled trying to commit suicide as an 11-year-old child and later as a 22-year-old adult trying to launch his first stage play, I Know I've Been Changed, based on his traumatic childhood.

After moving to Atlanta in 1992 and pouring his life savings into his dream play, Tyler went bust when the audience failed to show up. For months, he slept in cheap hotels and his car, and for the next six years, he tried and continually failed to get his play off the ground. Finally in 1998, Tyler's play caught on with audiences and he has never looked back.

After staging 13 plays in 13 years and introducing audiences to the unforgettable Madea, Tyler made the move to the big screen in 2005 with his first feature film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which debuted at No. 1 nationwide. Since then, he has built an empire, directing 12 films, including the critically acclaimed For Colored Girls, successfully expanding to television with three high-rated series and employing more than 300 people at his Atlanta studio.

Despite his success, though, Perry claimed he was racially profiled in April when police stopped him for making an illegal turn after leaving his studio. When he told police he made the wrong turn because he was worried he was being followed, he said they continued to harass him until a third officer, who was black, arrived.

"He took one look at me and had that 'Oh No' look on his face," Perry wrote on his Facebook page. "He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic."


Atlanta police are investigating the incident.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Fire Damages Tyler Perry Studios

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- A fire broke out at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta on Tuesday night, causing one building at the complex to partially collapse.

The cause of the four-alarm blaze -- which started before 9 p.m. and was extinguished by the Atlanta Fire Department about an hour later -- was not immediately known. No injuries were reported.

Tyler Perry checked out the damage at the complex Tuesday night, but he has yet to publicly address the fire.

The 200-thousand-square-foot complex includes five sound stages and a 400-seat theater. In March, Cee Lo Green performed there for a President Obama fundraiser.

It's unclear whether any productions will be affected by the fire.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


‘Gone With the Wind’ Memorabilia Destroyed by Fire

Clarence Sinclair Bull/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images(JONESBORO, Ga.) -- A fire has claimed a Georgia museum's trove of memorabilia from the 1939 film classic Gone With the Wind.

Earlier Friday, the curator of the Road to Tara Museum, in Jonesboro, Ga., stood outside police tape surrounding the storage units damaged by the fire.

“It definitely was not a good moment,” said Rebekah Cline, marketing and communications director of the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, which runs the museum.

“We are just anxiously awaiting the report from the fire chief on our [storage] unit,” Cline said.

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Museum officials were not sure about the extent of what was lost, but because most of the items in storage were paper products, they were not hopeful. The museum owns a number of giant movie posters and boards that were too large to fit in the museum and so were kept in the storage unit. One very valuable item is a 1939 photo from the Atlanta premiere.

Most of the group’s wardrobe items were safe in the museum, Cline said.

All 400 storage units in the facility suffered some damage. Museum officials hope theirs suffered less because the fire started on the top, and their unit was below.

“It’s certainly disappointing,” Cline said, “but on a positive note, because of the publicity, private donors have started to step forward and offer to loan us items if we discover they’ve been lost.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Wild Parties, Nude Models on Richard Branson's Island Paradise

Don Arnold/WireImage(LONDON) -- Richard Branson's Necker Island may have looked like the set of Titanic: Revenge of the Land earlier this week, when lightning set his $70 million home on fire and Kate Winslet scored heroine status by swooping Branson's 90-year-old mother out of the blaze.

Normally, the scene on the billionaire's private paradise in the Atlantic looks more like Animal House. According to the UK's Daily Mail, Branson, 61, recently bid a female guest adieu by dropping his pants and baring his rear end as she zipped by in a speedboat. The billionaire Virgin chairman famously arrived at his 1989 Necker Island wedding clinging to the bottom of a helicopter.

Models reportedly frolic with pink flamingos and giant tortoises in the nude. Last call doesn't exist. When you run the island, there are no rules.

"It's a lot of fun and nonstop partying," Tami Watkins, who stayed at Necker Island 15 years ago, told ABC News. "Just about anything goes."

But along with the shenanigans, there's unparalleled style and service. Another guest who visited the island in the 1990s told ABC News that the $20,000-per-night price tag paid for "paradise." More than a dozen chefs on staff can cook anything guests desire, and they're briefed on visitors' likes and dislikes before they arrive. Balinese wood and white upholstery lend the place the feel of an Asian oasis. Sixty staff members ensure every need gets met.

Branson bought the uninhabited British Virgin island in 1978 for a reported 180,000 pounds. He commissioned the construction of the "Great House," whose roof burned down Monday, and guest cottages and opened the island as a resort in 1984. In total, 28 people can stay at a time (that's more than a two-to-one ratio of staff to guests), and Branson reportedly spends at least two of the summer months there. When he's not around, those who wish to buy out the place can do so for $56,000 a night.

Monday's fire put a stop to the perpetual party -- for now. On Tuesday, Branson told ABC's Good Morning America that he's determined to rebuild the island's main house in time for his daughter's December wedding.

"It's one of those stories that's ended up happily," he said. "We will rebuild the house and make it even better than it was before and we'll have many more wonderful memories of the future."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Kate Winslet Escapes Fire in Richard Branson's Private Mansion

Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage(NECKER ISLAND, British Virgin Islands) -- Kate Winslet's character in Titanic barely survived an iceberg, and now the Oscar-winning actress has successfully acted the hero in a fire that ravaged Virgin Group mogul Richard Branson's private island residence in the British Virgin Islands.

Branson credited Winslet with saving his 90-year old mother, Eve, from the house fire.

"My mum is 90 and can walk, but it was more just to speed the process up than anything else. But anyway, she was great. She swept her up into her arms and got them out of the house as fast as possible," Branson told Britain's The Telegraph.

"Talking to her, she said it's like being in a film set where you're waiting for the words 'cut' but they just don't come. So it was quite surreal for her to be in a real-life situation."

Winslet, 35, was among the 20 guests who was staying in Branson's fourteen-bedroom "Great House" on the exclusive resort when the fire broke out around 4:00 a.m.

She had been staying at the luxury compound with her daughter Mia, 10, and son Joe, 7, as personal guests of Branson's, Ericka Souter, a staff writer at Us Weekly, told ABC News.

Each of the 20 houseguests staying at the complex were able to leave the burning house in safety, Branson said.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but it is believed to have been caused by a lightning storm due to Hurricane Irene, with winds of about 80 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Branson was staying with his wife, Joan and son, Sam, in one of the five smaller Balinese-style villas that dot the island when the fire broke out.

"I have lost thousands of photographs and my notebooks, which is very sad. But all family and friends are well -- which, in the end, is all that really matters," wrote the tycoon in a blog post on his website.

Branson said he intends to stay on the island and rebuild the house as soon as possible. "We have a wonderful staff here and we want them to stay in work. We'll all stay here. There's a lot of damage but we'll create something even more special out of the ruins," he wrote.

Sir Richard Branson has owned the idyllic property, located in the British Virgin Islands, since 1978. The previously uninhabited island has since been developed to include a number of private villas, in addition to a main house, which can accommodate up to 28 guests at a time.

The ultra-exclusive Caribbean retreat is a long-standing favorite of Hollywood starlets, rock icons and heiresses of every stripe.

The celebrity haven -- which was the locale of the 2010 Victoria's Secret Catalogue shoot -- has also hosted Victoria and David Beckham (who reportedly celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on its private beaches), media magnate Oprah Winfrey, and leading men Mel Gibson and Harrison Ford, to name just a few.

A night at the resort can be had for about $47,000-a-day complete with access to the staff of 60 (more than two staff members for each guest), as well as endless food, drink and resort activities.

Regardless of the hefty price tag, "It's one of the most sought-after after Hollywood destinations," said Souter. "It's not like going to Jamaica -- it's secluded, it's beautiful and private -- it really is the perfect experience for a celebrity who wants to enjoy the sunshine and seclusion."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Mad Men' Actress Burning Hot -- Literally

Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Screenvision(NEW YORK) -- Mad Men star Christina Hendricks nearly literally lived up to her description as a flame-haired actress after a party mishap in New York City. The New York Post reports Hendricks was at a Tony Awards after-party Sunday night at the Carlyle Hotel when she backed into a lit candle and set the coat she was wearing on fire. The paper reports she was able to extinguish the fire, but not before she burned a "huge hole" in the garment, which she apparently tossed into the garbage.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Trace Adkins' Home Is a Total Loss After Fire

Grant Halverson/Getty Images(BRENTWOOD, Tenn.) -- Trace Adkins' Brentwood, Tennessee home burned to the ground on Saturday.  No one was hurt, but the structure is said to be a total loss.

According to reports, Adkins' daughter Brianna, along with the couple's two other daughters, a babysitter, and another neighborhood child, were watching a movie Saturday afternoon just before 3:30 when they heard a huge crash.  Thinking it was something that had fallen in the cabinets, the babysitter checked the kitchen but found nothing.  She then checked the garage and found the dryer on its side, with fire and smoke was everywhere.

The nanny quickly got the children and the dogs out of the house and called 911.  The entire Brentwood Fire Department, including off-duty firefighters, was called to the home to fight the blaze.

Adkins' wife, Rhonda, was returning home from running errands and saw "black smoke" in the sky and rushed home to find the house in flames.  A slideshow of photos of the fire, including firefighter efforts to extinguish it and numerous images of the gutted brick structure, is posted at

Adkins' spokesperson issued a statement late Saturday night, declaring, "Trace wishes to express his gratitude for the immediate response of the Brentwood Fire Department and is humbled by the outpouring of concern from friends and fans."

At the time of the fire, Adkins was en route to Alaska, where he was scheduled to perform later this week.  Upon landing in Alaksa, he learned of the fire and immediately boarded a return flight home.

For now, the Adkins family plans to stay at their farm, about 30 minutes south of Nashville, Tennessee.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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