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Monday, February 28, 2011

Federal Investigators Called to Scene of 3-Alarm Fire in Old Northeast KC-MO

A fire that grew to 3-alarms has virtually destroyed a mosque that was located in a historic old theater building in old Northeast Kansas City MO early Monday morning.

Fifteen fire companies fought the 3 a.m. fire that consumed the old Gladstone Theater/Hall building located at 4608 St. John Avenue just east of Elmwood.

The building currently housed the Islamic Masjid Al-huda mosque- and that set-off an automatic Federal investigation of the fire as it was in a place of worship.

Fire consumed much of the ornate 3-story building- and briefly spread to a private detached garage located behind some residences on Lawn Avenue to the east- before the incident was brought under control shortly after 5 a.m..

The later report from investigators was that the fire was caused by an electrical defect.

None of the estimated 75 firefighters- nor anyone else- was injured.

Some history of the old theater:

From Boxoffice magazine, May 1960:

KANSAS CITY-The Gladstone Theater, a Fox Midwest theater for a number of years, closed Saturday night, April 30. Located at 4608 St. John, the theater was built by the late John G. Hiatt and opened in 1919. In 1922 it was taken over by the old Capitol Enterprises and 1926 was acquired by Universal of New York.

Fox Midwest first leased the Gladstone in 1930 and operated it under a lease until 1945, at which time Fox Midwest bought the building. In 1958 the theater was sold to Frank and Manuel Zoglin, and Fox Midwest continued to operate it under a lease.

With the termination of the lease, Fox Midwest is moving its equipment from the theater. The Zoglins said the building will be remodeled and made into business property. Jess Spain, manager of the Gladstone, also manages the Vista for Fox Midwest and will continue in that capacity.

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