THOMASTON — A light powering on in the middle of a movie led to a large firefighter presence at a Thomaston movie theater, Sunday afternoon, Sept. 19, 2021.
At approximately 1:30 p.m., Movie goers watching a Clint Eastwood movie, Cry Macho, in theater eight of the 9-theater Flagship Cinema, were interrupted by the unexpected overhead illumination.
According to Ben Frost, Flagship Cinema's Thomaston assistant manager, the house lights came on in theater eight during the movie. A patron went to the lobby and asked that the lights be turned off. Frost said when he went upstairs to the projection room there was smoke coming from the electrical lightbox under the projector, and he said it smelled like an electrical fire.
"I immediately activated the fire alarm to evacuate the building," said Frost, "and I dialed 911."
Theater attendees evacuated the building as firefighters from Thomaston, Rockland, South Thomaston, Cushing, and Warren responded to the call. A Waldoboro crew was also dispatched, though they were soon redirected to the Thomaston Fire Station for station coverage. While most responders were still in route, a Thomaston police officer went theater to theater, verifying that everyone had been evacuated.
Thomaston Fire Units were the first to arrive on the scene, followed by South Thomaston, and Rockland.
After assessing the structure, firefighters, with the assistance of cinema staff, determined that an electrical box shortage was to blame, and they further isolated the issue to the controls for theater eight only, according to TFD Capt. Tony Leo. After about an hour, most responder crews had been released from the scene, and aside from theater eight, all theaters were able to reopen.
Movie patrons who were forced to evacuate from the building were provided with movie passes for a free movie.
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