The initial blaze was more than the fire fighters expected and they had to pull-back from their first attempt to contain the fire until additional equipment arrived. The area of the building where the fire appeared to be the most intense was the stage. Three fire teams were summoned to the site before the fire could be quelled. The exact cause of the fire has not been determined. News programs showed images of severely smoke and water damaged interior.
The building was formerly a church, and the main performance auditorium was used by CATS as a private school. CATS has been in this location for 27 of it's 33 years, and was trying to sell the building so they could move to a newer facility. The fire has forced them to accelerate their plans as they have a summer class with 14 students and a fall class with over 300. Another non-profit Theatre Company, Theatre Arlington, has offered to let CATS use their facility for their summer classes.