A movie theatre in Fresno, California caught fire Monday night after a malfunction in the popcorn kettle caused the drum of oil beneath it to ignite.
Theatre manager Tom Brown ran into the auditorium of the one-screen theatre, trying to warn the patrons that they needed to get out by yelling “fire!” Most theatre patrons ignored him, and some even told him to be quiet. As one customer said, everyone believed he was just “being a jerk.”
“I thought he was just ‘yelling fire in a crowded theatre,’ you know?” Said one man, interviewed outside the theatre, mouth full of popcorn. “We thought it was just a joke – some moron getting his laughs. I really wanted to see what happened to Magneto, so I was mostly ignoring him. Then the screen suddenly caught on fire, and I think everyone knew it was real.”
The small theatre was completely destroyed in the blaze, although there were no reported injuries.
“I am so glad that we were all able to make it out okay.” Said Chris Bartlett, who was there with his wife and two small children. “I think they really need to have some sort of new word they use instead of ‘fire!’, at least when it happens in a theatre, you know? Maybe something like ‘Goobers!’ or ‘Reese’s Pieces!’ could be yelled instead. Then everyone would know it was for real.”
Brown says that next time he’s working at a theatre that catches on fire, he’ll just pull the fire alarm.