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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

ATF: Fire at Tyler Perry studio caused estimated $1 million in damage

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2012 at 2:40 PM

A Tuesday night blaze at Tyler Perry's film studio in southwest Atlanta caused an estimated $1 million in damages, inspectors with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said on Wednesday.

Richard Coes, a special agent and public information officer with the federal agency's Atlanta field office, told CL that ATF agents assisting Atlanta fire inspectors say fire "directly damaged" two film sets and caused exposure damage to at least three others. Investigators had not yet determined what sparked the fire that engulfed a backlot facade located on the 30-acre studio complex. According to news reports, nearly 100 firefighters responded to the scene to douse flames that shot nearly six stories in height. Nearby residents told the AJC the building was "popping" and reported seeing "sparks."

You're probably wondering, like we did, why the ATF responded to the scene of the fire. Coes said it's fairly common for bureau agents to help local agencies and fire investigators probe the cause of large blazes.

"We investigate large scale arson also," he said. "We get calls from local police departments or state fire marshals for our expertise. We can make a determination with one of our certified fire investigators to make the determination if blaze is accidental, incendiary, or arson... Happens all the time. Our fire investigators get called out on probably 75 percent of the large scale commercial fires that take place in and about metro atlanta and georgia. Actually throughout the nation."

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