Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/73169

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 31, 2014

Fire damages State Theatre Wednesday

By Andy Hallman | Nov 16, 2010
Washington firefighters on an aerial platform hose down the flames coming from a second story window at the State Theatre in downtown Washington this morning. A discarded cigarette butt in a trash can in the projection room started the fire.

The State Theatre caught fire Wednesday morning and it was promptly extinguished by the Washington Fire Department. The fire was confined to the projection booth on the second floor, although Fire Chief Tom Wide said there is significant smoke damage to the rest of the theatre. No one was injured in the fire, and the building was empty at the time the fire occurred.

According to a press release from the Washington Safety Center, the fire department determined the fire started in a trash can from a discarded cigarette butt.

The fire occurred at approximately 9:20 a.m. Washington resident Hank Tompkins had just parked his car at a nearby business when he saw a fire truck pull up to the theatre. He said he didn’t know why the truck was there. He looked at State Theatre and did not see any flames or smoke coming from the building. But just a minute later, he could see flames shooting out of a second-story window. The fire was in the projection booth, which is directly above the theatre’s marquee.

Two firefighters got in the aerial platform truck and were lifted high in the air. The firefighters shot water at the top of the marquee and then through the window into the projection booth. The firefighters on the ladder truck then sprayed water onto the roof of the building to prevent the fire from spreading. Another team of firefighters entered the projection booth to put out the remnants of the fire.

Dick Shepherd, who manages State Theatre, arrived on the scene shortly after the fire began. He said someone was in the theatre cleaning before 9 a.m. He suspected it was an electrical fire because of the proximity of a fuse box to the fire and because there are several electrical wires in the attic above the booth.

Wide said the fire did not spread to the attic. He said firefighters are in the process of ventilating the building because there was a lot of smoke inside. There is also water damage to the first floor below the projector room because of the water that was sprayed in to put out the flames. He said the equipment in the projection booth is probably destroyed.

For the full story, see the Nov. 17 edition of The Washington Evening Journal

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