Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Public safety

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

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
Video released of suspect in sexual assault of Pasco woman, 71

Video released of suspect in sexual assault of Pasco woman, 71

NEW PORT RICHEY— Iris Ramos couldn’t sleep Monday night.Ramos, 70, lives four doors down from a house at 7437 Heather St., where Pasco County deputies reported a home invasion and rape of a 71-year-old woman Monday morning. Ramos had helped the woman...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
Investigators find insufficient evidence against former state fair executive director

Investigators find insufficient evidence against former state fair executive director

TAMPA — Charles Pesano may have used his position as executive director of the Florida State Fair to funnel business to his family’s company, get Tampa Bay Rays tickets and have a hot tub installed in his Valrico home, but there is no evidence he com...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Parkland students going to Tallahassee to push for gun law changes

Parkland students going to Tallahassee to push for gun law changes

PARKLAND — A hundred Stoneman Douglas High School students are busing 400 miles to Florida’s capital Tuesday to urge lawmakers to act to prevent a repeat of the massacre that killed 17 students and faculty last week. The students plan to hold a rally...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, found safe after leaving Bradenton home

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, found safe after leaving Bradenton home

BRADENTON — Jalyssa Shannon, the sister of 13-year-old Riverview murder victim Janessa Shannon, was found safe Monday evening after leaving her mother’s Bradenton home Sunday, authorities said.Jalyssa was found about 7 p.m., according to the Manatee ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Young child struck by vehicle in Tampa

Young child struck by vehicle in Tampa

TAMPA — A young child was injured after being struck by a vehicle Thursday morning, according to police.The crash involved a pedestrian and a vehicle near Myrtle Street and Serena Drive around 7:45 a.m., police said.The child sustained non-life threa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Most Americans say Trump, Congress not doing enough to stop mass shootings, Post-ABC poll finds

Most Americans say Trump, Congress not doing enough to stop mass shootings, Post-ABC poll finds

More than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and President Donald Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, with most Americans continuing to say these incidents are more reflective of probl...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds

Romano: Until the Parkland shooting, lawmakers ignored requests for school safety funds

His words and his pleas are similar to what we’ve heard from others in recent days.Kids deserve to feel safe when they walk into a classroom in Florida. More security is needed. More boots on the ground would be helpful. Mostly, more money must be de...
Published: 02/20/18
Don’t feed the coyotes: State wildlife officials warn residents to keep small pets safe

Don’t feed the coyotes: State wildlife officials warn residents to keep small pets safe

HOLIDAY — At 6:30 a.m. on a day last November, Wanda Dean woke up to her hysterical and tearful 89-year-old mother. "Wanda, they got him!" she yelped. "They tore his head off."When Wanda went to inspect her mother’s backyard, Morris, the stray cat he...
Published: 02/20/18
Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Girl, 12, sister of murder victim, calls relative after being reported missing

Seven months ago, Jalyssa Shannon’s older sister Janessa went missing, sparking a frantic search that ended with the discovery of the 13-year-old’s body in a Hillsborough County nature preserve and, later, the arrest of the girls’ father in her murde...
Published: 02/19/18
Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

Man sought in sexual assault of woman, 71, in New Port Richey

NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputies are searching for a man who they said broke into a home and raped a 71-year-old woman on Monday.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said the woman was checking on a home at 7437 Heather St. for the homeowner at about 8:15 a.m...
Published: 02/19/18