Close Call For Jazz Hall Of Fame

Thursday, February 15th 2007, 9:58 am
By: News On 6

A fire at Tulsa’s downtown Union Depot caused minor damage to the historic structure late Wednesday evening. The building located near 1st and Cincinnati is currently being renovated to be the new home for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

News On 6 reporter Steve Berg reports fans of the building are happy the fire was quickly extinguished.

Jazz Hall of Fame director Chuck Cissel says he was having dinner at a nearby Tulsa restaurant Wednesday evening when he got a phone call about the fire. “Needless to say, I dropped my food, my fork, everything and just ran out of there, crazed, thinking how could this happen?" The how is still a little unclear. Tulsa Fire officials say the fire started in a wooden box that was being built to house a new heating and air-conditioning unit and that there had been some roofing work going on in that spot earlier in the day.

Cissel says the building's fire alarm did activate and notified the fire department. "Who were absolutely sensational I must say. Very professional, on point, and really kind of a cool attitude about the whole thing, like we've got this under control."

Remarkably, there was only about $10,000 in damages. Just a little roof repair, sheet rock, and carpeting. In fact, with only a faint odor of smoke, work on the main performance hall resumed Thursday without missing a beat.

"Back to work, construction is going straight ahead, and in a few months, we'll be swinging baby, " said Chuck Cissel. Workers have nearly finished removing the stairwells, elevator, and office space that had filled in the old train depot's lobby during its last renovation, returning its original, soaring, spacious atmosphere.

Realizing how bad the fire could have been, Cissel can't imagine losing the historic depot. "And not only for the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, but for the city, because this is truly one of the most important landmarks ever created in the Tulsa area."

The renovation began about 3 years ago, the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame is still hoping for a June opening.

The depot also houses the offices for the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra.

For more information about the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, CLICK HERE.