Stockton residents gathered in front of the Empire Theatre this week to urge the community to help save the front façade and marquee of the building from demolition after a recent five-alarm fire.

The May 14 fire at the theater building located on the Miracle Mile at 1825 Pacific Ave. caused the roof to collapse as well as extensive damage elsewhere in the structure.

“The whole seating area of the theater where all the seats are is completely destroyed,” Deputy Chief Shannon Lewis said. “The west wall was removed for safety reasons.”

Despite the major damage, residents still want to preserve what’s left of the historic theater that has been in Stockton since June 16, 1945.

Little remains of the interior of the Empire Theatre days after it was gutted by fire. The west wall was demolished for safety reasons, fire officials said. (Photo by Victoria Franco/Bay City News Foundation)

Resident Christopher Turcotte started a petition to collect signatures from the community in efforts to begin saving the façade and marquee of the theater. The petition had 328 signatures of its goal of 400 as of Tuesday evening.

“The overall goal is to save the front façade. The marquee and the sign on top are top priority,” Turcotte said. “The front marquee and sign don’t look damaged structurally so … it’s totally salvageable.”

Turcotte said after reaching the 400 signatures from the petition, he will create a mailer and is going to contact the Stockton City Council to save the remaining landmarks of the theater.