KINGSPORT — A burst of smoke shot into one of the theaters at the Kingsport Town Center Tuesday afternoon, ironically the theater showing “The Hunger Games — Catching Fire.”
Insert obvious joke here.
But the smoke was not part of the show, as one movie patron thought, but rather the result of one of the heaters turning on. According to mall manager Kevin Harmon, when the heaters came on in Frank Theaters, they created a burst of smoke in theater #2. The incident happened around 1:20 on Tuesday.
The fire alarm sounded and all of the patrons exited the theater as Kingsport Fire Department personnel responded to the call, which included six fire engines and an officer’s SUV.
Harmon said Cooks Electrical was called in, and the electrical duct heater was checked, as well as all of the belts and accessories, with no problems being found. The KFD used its infrared cameras and found no hotspots.
According to one moviegoer, patrons were twice sent back into the theater — once when an attendant thought the smoke was a false alarm and before the theaters were checked and a second time when an employee was on the phone with the KFD.
After the theater was checked and the smoke cleared, patrons were allowed to return and continue watching movies after about 45 minutes, Harmon said. Patrons were given refunds and vouchers for a free movie.
“The KFD needs to be commended,” Harmon said in an email to the Times-News. “They arrived quickly, got us running quickly and two inspectors stayed to help ascertain the cause. We appreciate their efforts.”