Smoke billows out of the Knitting Factory in Downtown Boise
The fire that struck the Knitting Factory in Downtown Boise late Tuesday afternoon wasn’t large or fast-moving, but it was hard for firefighters to get to because it was in floorboards and walls, a Boise Fire Department spokeswoman said Wednesday.
About 60 percent of the interior of the popular concert venue is damaged. The fire was reported at about 5 p.m., and multiple fire engines were dispatched to the scene, which was affected by rush-hour traffic.
“What wasn’t fire damaged was water damaged,” BFD spokeswoman Char Jackson said.
Boise Fire Department officials said late Wednesday afternoon that the fire was accidentally caused by a contractor working on the HVAC system for the business. The contractor accidentally created a spark when cutting metal duct work, and the spark spread to nearby materials to ignite the blaze.
The fire burned above the mezzanine, in between the first and second floor. Firefighters had to break windows and rip into walls to get to the fire, and that left a lot of debris on the floor, Jackson said.
“The fire wasn’t swift or aggressive fire but damage-wise it was pretty devastating,” Jackson said.
The good news, she said, is that the building is still structurally sound, though some interior beams in the ceiling were charred. Some subfloor was cut, too.
On Wednesday morning, Knitting Factory employees were waiting outside for fire investigators to arrive — and to get an update on the extent of the damage.
“The show will go on,” talent buyer Danny Glazier said. The Lizzo concert will now be held at the Revolution Concert House in Garden City. All tickets will be honored, according to a Facebook post from the Knitting Factory.
Getting the Lizzo concert squared away was their priority, then they are going to go through their calendar of other shows to determine what they need to do with other upcoming shows, Glazier and others said.
Power was shut off to the Knitting Factory and adjoining buildings. It had been restored to Bonefish Grill by Wednesday afternoon. An Idaho Power spokesman said nine affected meters were expected to be back up by dinner time, once electricians have determined it’s safe to turn them back on.
According to previous Idaho Statesman reporting, the Knitting Factory, 416 S. Ninth St., is requesting its legal capacity to be increased from 999 to 1,195 people, according to an application with the city of Boise. The move would add more bathrooms and other improvements.
Katy Moeller: 208-377-6413