By Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2021

BECKET, Mass. (AP) - The state fire marshal’s office cannot definitively determine the cause of the fire that destroyed a theater at the Jacob’s Pillow dance center in November.

A probe identified the location where the fire likely began but did not determine what set it off, in part because the 216-seat theater was entirely destroyed, the Berkshire Eagle reported on Tuesday.

The Nov. 17 fire started either inside or outside the door of the patron’s entrance to the theater, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said. But the fire marshal’s investigation could not determine whether electrical equipment inside the door sparked the fire or if a burning cigarette or something like it was the cause.

The damage to the theater building totals $3 million, the newspaper reported. Firefighters were hampered in fighting the blaze because the fire alarm system and a hydrant were not working.

“This fire had a grip on the building before we were even notified of the fire,” Becket Fire Chief Paul Mikaniewicz said in a statement on Tuesday.

No one was hurt in the fire. The renowned dance school and performance venue canceled its 2020 season because of the pandemic. This summer it will allow a small number of dancers to attend in person. The Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival dates to the 1930s.

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