Flames engulfed office space and some music history Friday night when smoke and fire tore through James Brown Enterprises in west Augusta. At about 9:45 p.m., Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department received calls to report smoke billowing from the roof of the singer's office building off Augusta West Parkway.
"When we got out here, what we experienced was a lot of fire smoke coming from the structure," Fire Chief Ronnie Few said. The cause and extent of damage will be determined after the investigation is complete.
Mr. Brown had left for Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Thursday for two concerts, and firefighters said there were no employees inside the building at the time of the fire.
"We are going to have some significant water damage, fire damage and some smoke damage in this structure," Chief Few said. "Anytime it gets up in the roof we are going to have some extensive damage. Some of the lower floors are pretty intact."
The building houses more than a dozen employees who coordinate concerts, tours and programming for Mr. Brown's radio station. There is no recording studio in the building -- which James Brown Enterprises moved into in 1992 -- only office space and some irreplaceable memorabilia.
"I know Mr. Brown has a lot of things in there," said Chief Few. "I want to make sure that we salvage all of his belongings."
Gifts from fans were displayed throughout the office building. The upstairs corridor was committed to displays of artwork and memorabilia from the 66-year-old legend's tours worldwide.
Reach Clarissa J. Walker at (706) 828-3851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.