WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the F.M. Kirby Center released a statement about the water damage done to the theater after a water main break in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
On Tuesday morning at around 4:00 a.m., emergency responders from Wilkes-Barre arrived at the F.M. Kirby Center in response to a triggered alarm.
A water main break caused six feet of water to flood the lower level of the theater. The widespread damage includes areas starting from the front offices, gallery space, and VIP bar to the downstairs restrooms, the Mohegan Pennsylvania Lounge, building storage, and the newly redesigned dressing rooms.
The dressing rooms were redesigned and unveiled shortly before the COVID-19 shutdown. Community supporters like Kurlancheek Home Furnishing, Rebenack Appliances, Quad 3, and Gus Genetti, among others, helped make it happen.
“That was a huge project for us and it’s sad to see all of the hard work and generous contributions literally get washed away,” said Joell Yarmel, Executive Director of the F.M. Kirby Center.
Also submerged was the critical building power infrastructure.
“Our electrical control room was under water and is the hub of the building for power. That is our main concern at the moment. We are working with an electrical team that is hopeful to restore power to the building by early next week. With that said, no events will take place at the Kirby Center this weekend” added Yarmel.
- Victor Wooten and the Wooten Brothers & Rebirth Brass Band was set to take the stage at the Kirby Center on Thursday, October 12, and has been canceled.
- Sal Vulcano’s performance for Friday, October 13 has been rescheduled for Saturday, December 16. All previously purchased tickets will be honored on the rescheduled date. Refunds will be made available through point of purchase for those unable to attend.
- Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons will not be performing this Saturday, October 14. The Kirby Center is working with the tour on a rescheduled date. The new date will be announced once it is confirmed.
“We can’t say at this time when we will reopen but we are learning more each hour on the progression. Once we have power and the building is safe to host patrons, the show will go on. We are working closely with each tour scheduled to perform on our stage and are communicating that information through emails, social media, and our website once decisions are made” Yarmel explained.
In several sections of the lower level, walls had been forcibly breached, and the contents of each room were in disarray, with many furnishings rendered irreparable.
“We are thankful no one was hurt and are grateful for the local responders for their quick action. The outpouring of support from other theaters, arenas, local businesses, and friends has been tremendous. Our Board of Directors has been meeting with us and working alongside the staff to ensure the right steps are taken to reopen safely. The F.M. Kirby Center has certainly survived flood damage before and we will persevere just as we did back then,” Yarmel continued.
Officials are evaluating the extent of the damage and collaborating with experts to expedite the reopening of the Kirby Center’s doors.