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The fire, which broke out in the kitchen area sometime before 7 p.m. Saturday, caused heavy smoke damage.

Hot towels cited in fire

Philmore expects to reopen in May

Hot towels placed in a confined space are what sparked a fire at the iconic Philmore on Broadway this weekend.

The theater is now closed for tours, moving forward on repairs and booking events for after May, according to its Facebook page.

The fire, which broke out in the kitchen area sometime before 7 p.m. Saturday, caused heavy smoke damage.

Towels were taken out of a dryer and placed in a confined space, which did not allow the heat anywhere to dissipate. That led to the towels catching fire, a fire department spokeswoman said.

The theater was condemned by Neighborhood Code Enforcement.

Fire investigators ruled the cause of the blaze accidental.

Opened in 1923 as the Broadway Theater, it was one of the five theaters at the time in Fort Wayne, according to the Philmore's website.

After more than 60 years, the theater closed its doors in 1985.

It stood vacant until 1997 when several investors launched a restoration of the building, according to the building's website.

Those efforts led to it reopening in 1998 as the Catablu Gourmet American Grille, which operated there for 11 years.

jeffwiehe@jg.net

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