Fire this morning heavily damaged the historic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens, shrouding the central business district in smoke and knocking out electric and cell phone service to the area.
Firefighters were called at about 7 a.m. to the theater, located at the corner of North Lumpkin and West Clayton streets, when a man walking home through downtown smelled something burning and found smoke billowing from the theater doors.
Within an hour, the roof on the historic building had collapsed.
Dozens of big-name acts had performed at the Georgia Theatre — musicians such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, John Prine and Jorma Kaukonen, not to mention Athens-based acts like R.E.M., Randall Bramblett and Davis Causey.