Fire in a Crowded Theater


EJ Cory for BHB

The Fire Department is currently operating at a fire in the UA multiplex at 106 Court St. The fire is reportedly on the first floor and has been extinguished, but a smoke condition has pervaded the building, and an evacuation is in progress.

Sarah Portlock/BHB

Sarah Portlock/BHB

UPDATE (4:00 p.m.) – FD reports the fire originated in a popcorn machine.  One person is complaining of chest pains, and six others are being evaluated by EMS.

Update: (6:20pm from Sarah Portlock): Cheryl Zellman, of Marine Park, was watching the previews for the 3:15pm Funny People when she said there was a beeping sound and a movie theater employee told the audience to evacuate. Zellman said she didn’t see anyone panic, and was waiting patiently on State Street for the commotion to quiet down.

“I have to say, the people who work there were really good — they really handled it well,”  Zellman said. “there was a lot of smoke.  The firetrucks came almost immediately.”

With Sarah Portlock at the scene.

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  • Matt

    Let it burn.

  • thomas

    Horrible theater. Burn to the ground please, with the management inside.

  • anon

    An interesting angle is how the evacuation plan worked. I hate the theatre because I’ve always felt trapped inside should a fire break out–the narrow hallways near the top, combined with single aisle escalators and no windows. Perhaps there are emergency exits, but I’ve not seen them.

    In all other respects, it is a monstrosity of a building and I miss my dry cleaner that was in that space, along with the funny porn theater titles, which was also in that space.

  • elizabeth

    I was in the theatre at the time of the fire, we were there seeing G-Force. The only way we knew anything was the matter was that the movie stopped at there was a dim light flickering and a very low tone alarm. There needed to be a message over the intercom telling people to vacate.
    No representatives from the theatre came into the theatre,which was filled with children and people were confused. Thank goodness everyone was ok. This was handled terribly and the management was not trained properly on how to handle such an emergency. I am never taking my kids there again.

  • jen

    Why doesn’t somebody contact the corporate headquarters of this theater and complain? It’s shocking to me how many people write how much they hate this place on Yelp, yet nothing ever seems to change. Here’s the info:
    Regal Entertainment Group 7132 Regal Lane Knoxville, Tennessee 37918 Phone: 1-865-922-1123 Fax: 1-865-922-3188
    Customer Relations: 1-877-TELLREGAL or 1-877-835-5734

  • John

    I have never step one foot in this Theater since it open !
    I don’t even like walking past this place !

  • elizabeth

    Good Idea Jen I will call them

  • Kai

    I watched “Funny People” there on Saturday… I’ve never had a problem with the place. Going to the 11th floor to watch a movie can be annoying, but hey, it’s New York City.

  • C.

    What is with all the unbridled hate for this place? Someone please elaborate. I know it isn’t the ideal place to see a movie. It’s loud and people tend to be very annoying here, but c’mon would you rather not have a mutiplex in the area? I need my movie fix regularly! I can deal with the few inconveniences. Such is life.

  • nabeguy

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the chest pains were a direct result of eating the popcorn. Amazing to me what a flashpoint this theater is…and today’s action seems to prove that point literally

  • Rachel

    I was at the G-Force showing with my four year old during the fire. The confusion and lack of appropriate messaging or assistance of any kind was shocking. As one poster above said, this film was in the basement – down an extremely long multiple flight escalator. The film went dead, the theatre went completely dark – no emergency lighting, no announcements, no alarms – nothing. Leading most people including me to assume that it was just a problem with the film. After several minutes with no lights and no announcement people started to panic and some evacuated. A counselor for the day camp that had at least 40 kids in the theatre said, “everybody stay in your seat- its just the fire alarm (meaning not a fire – just a false alarm). I thought this was odd because every fire alarm I have ever heard is loud and there was no sound at all. At this point everyone in our row started trying trying to leave and so did we. The elevators and big escalator were obviously not working so we climbed up single file to the lobby only to find that the fire was in the concession stand between us and the door. My child and I bolted through the smoke where everyone who had gotten out stopped as soon as they hit the outside causing a huge bottleneck at the door. This could have been an unbelievable and unnecessary tragedy.

  • No One of Consequence

    Patience and NetFlix.

  • Nas

    That trashy movie theater is a blemish on the neighborhood and have turned the area into one trashy, noisy place. Basically this entire building has been nothing more than a nightmare for those of us who live around it…not only because of the two innocent men who fell to their death from the girders when they were building the architectural eye-soar to the trash that frequents the place who stand on the top window areas and oggle the neighbors who are living their lives in the surrounding residential buildings. Anyhow, this too is another rape of the people of Brooklyn by that sociopath scum bag Steve Ratner who should simply be locked up.

  • DJ

    It’s theaters like this one that made me hate going to the movies so much, I just stopped. Who needs the aggravation? Like NOOC said – patience, and Netflix. Much happier now — nearly 6 years, movie theatre free.

  • Justsayit

    Just say it: we hate the movie theater for the kind of people who go and work there…

    And @ NAS: I remember when there was a discussion what should be built in that place. There was talk about and plans for a grocery store which the neighbors shutdown as they didnt want to have to deal with the deliveries. So, get oggled now.

    And since everyone is missing what was there before: Yeah, I really miss the fallen apart storefronts there. Bring them back.

  • David on Middagh

    To “C.” – It’s not that my hatred for the UA multiplex is unbridled, but I do try to avoid it. For atmosphere, friendliness, and movie selection, I prefer the Brooklyn Heights Cinema and the Cobble Hill Cinema. The UA *is* too tall and impersonal. I do hold one grudge: a bored ticket taker on one of those upper floors once misdirected me to amuse himself. Sigh.

  • BKHeightsGirl

    @Nas — I think you mean BRUCE Ratner of Forest City Ratner which developed the movie theater and is handling the Nets Arena downtown. Steve Rattner is a financier who recently held a position under Tim Geithner in the Treasury Department.

  • anon

    @justsayit-the storefronts weren’t fallen apart. Before, the stores included My Little Pizzeria and Queen Restaurant (it served pizza then). Both moved down the block and were either side of the afforementioned porno movie theatre (with large marquee!) in the middle of the block. The dry cleaner also moved down the block, also next to the now moved My Little Pizzeria. This wasn’t run down–it was Cobble Hill/south Brooklyn Heights. Welcome to the late 80s/early 90s.

  • Peter

    I will never step foot in that theater again. The staff is incompetent, the place attracts a seedy element, and movies come with 35 loud conversations during the show, and this has happened on multiple occasions. Absolutely a horrible experience going to this decrepit excuse for a cinema. I give my business to Cobble Hill Cinema, or if my movie of choice is not playing there, I walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and head over to the west side by Battery Park … that alone should tell you how poor our neighborhood movie theater is.

  • FiredUp ReadytoGo

    This Ratner-developed theater has been run incompetently since its opening. It is no surprise that the clueless employees were also untrained in fire safety. These workers could perform better, but I know stupidity trickles down from the top.

  • FiredUp ReadytoGo

    I wouldn’t condemn the “element” that attends the theater. People talk everywhere nowadays and think they’re watching NetFlix in their living rooms. Also depends on the type of movie — less talk at some British “Upstairs/Downstairs” – type of movie than at some Michael Bay action movie.