Friday, November 24, 2017
Public safety

After Beacon Stadium Cinemas alarms go off and some sit, Spring Hill fire officials review evacuation

RECOMMENDED READING


SPRING HILL — When vandals damaged a sprinkler head at the Beacon Stadium Cinemas and prompted fire alarms to sound late Saturday, many moviegoers headed for the exits.

But authorities say some patrons remained in their cushioned seats and continued to watch movies while theater staffers figured out what was happening.

That shouldn't have occurred, Spring Hill Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Kevin Carroll said Tuesday.

"There's no doubt that from the onset of the alarm, everyone should have evacuated," Carroll said. "Get everybody out of the building until we confirm it's safe."

He said an initial review shows no codes or laws were violated, but a fire inspector is working with the theater management to improve the protocol when an alarm sounds.

"They've been extremely cooperative and want to do the right thing," Carroll said.

The Beacon is owned by the Georgia Theatre Co. based in St. Simons Island, Ga. A manager at the theater referred a Tampa Bay Times reporter to a company official, who did not return a message left at his office Tuesday.

According to the Hernando Sheriff's Office, patrons were watching movies in two theaters about 11:45 p.m. when vandals tampered with a sprinkler head near a restroom, triggering some sprinklers in the hallway to spray and the fire alarm to sound. The vandals escaped as the theater staff evacuated the building, the Sheriff's Office said in a media release.

But Carroll said one patron told a fire inspector that the staff did not direct everyone to leave the building. The patron said warning lights began to flash and a prerecorded message directing people to head for the exits began to sound, but it was not clearly audible above the movie, which continued to play.

Theater staffers identified the problem and silenced the alarm, Carroll said. Fire crews arrived, turned off the sprinklers and confirmed there was no fire or need to get everyone else out of the building.

The state fire code requires audible alarms to be at least 15 decibels above the ambient sound in the room, so officials will make sure that is the case at the Beacon, Carroll said.

The inspector, who is meeting with theater officials on Friday, will also recommend that the film projectors automatically shut off and house lights come on when the fire alarm is triggered.

The Sheriff's Office said the incident caused more than $20,000 worth of damage to the building.

Comments
Mounted police patrol Seminole Heights after killings

Mounted police patrol Seminole Heights after killings

TAMPA — A Florida police department is using horse patrols in a neighborhood that’s been plagued by homicides in recent weeks. Officials in Tampa have been searching for the person — or people — responsible for shooting and killing four in the Semino...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
Safety Harbor family, under attack from its pit bull, stabs the dog to death

Safety Harbor family, under attack from its pit bull, stabs the dog to death

SAFETY HARBOR — A family had to stab one of its pit bulls to death Friday after it got loose and started to attack its owners, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.Now a 45-year-old mother and her 14-year-old and 22-year-old daughters ar...
Updated: 15 minutes ago

Woman, 51, robbed in Tyrone Square Mall parking lot, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman was robbed after a man followed her to her car in a mall parking lot Thursday night and shot once at her, police said. The 51-year-old woman, whose identity St. Petersburg police are withholding, was not injured. She was walk...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Newly engaged couple among three killed in wrong-way crash on I-75

Newly engaged couple among three killed in wrong-way crash on I-75

GIBSONTON — Last month, LaShay Waiters got down on one knee and proposed to Yvette Alexandre in front of a room packed with family and friends. She said yes.About two weeks ago, it was Alexandre’s turn to surprise him: She was pregnant. It wasn’t pla...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tampa officer revives overdose victim in department’s first use of Narcan drug kit

Tampa officer revives overdose victim in department’s first use of Narcan drug kit

TAMPA — A Tampa Police officer administered the department’s first use of an overdose-reversal drug to revive a 27-year-old man on Friday.About 2 a.m., Tampa Police Officer Scott Seely responded to a call in east Tampa about a possible drug overdose,...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Car-sized hole from broken water pipe closes road in Valrico

Car-sized hole from broken water pipe closes road in Valrico

VALRICO — A large hole that opened in Valrico’s Bloomingdale neighborhood on Thanksgiving day was caused by a broken water pipe, not a sinkhole, county officials said. The hole swallowed a Mini Cooper-sized chunk of Natures Way Boulevard, at the Elm ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Police investigate suspicious package at Clearwater Babies"R"Us

CLEARWATER — Authorities evacuated a Babies"R"Us on Friday after reports of a suspicious package in a shopping cart.According to Clearwater police, someone noticed the package about 10:30 a.m. at the store at 21315 U.S. 19 N. The store was evacuated ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Murky waters: Chartering the wrong boat can have tragic consequences

Murky waters: Chartering the wrong boat can have tragic consequences

Captain Dan Peretz noticed the same charter boats overloaded with passengers again and again. He thought, "This is how people die.’’ So he sent emails to the Coast Guard, sharing his concerns, naming specific boats, including the Jaguar....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Published: 11/23/17

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Published: 11/23/17