Updated: Steamboat movie theater reopened after small fire caused evacuations and temporary closure | SteamboatToday.com

Updated: Steamboat movie theater reopened after small fire caused evacuations and temporary closure

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A small portable vacuum cleaner is believed to be the cause of a small fire that forced the evacuation of the Metropolitan Wildhorse 6 Stadium Cinemas around 1 p.m. Thursday, and left customers wondering when Steamboat's only movie theater would reopen.

But because of the quick action by the theater’s management the doors were reopened in time for evening shows. 

"There was a small fire in an entire stairwell," said Michael Arce, a captain with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue. "We are not exactly sure how it started, but we know where. It has something to do with these little power vacuum cleaners in there. We don't know if the vacuum cleaner picked something up, and it smoldered, or whether the vacuum cleaner itself malfunctioned. We are looking into it."

Arce said there was still a fire when crews from Steamboat Fire Rescue arrived, but the sprinkler system helped extinguish the blaze.

"The sprinkler system pretty much had it out — it worked perfectly," Arce said. "He has to take care of the water in the carpet, and he has to get his sprinkler system fixed, but maybe they could be open this evening."

On Thursday afternoon, many moviegoers, some with popcorn bags and sodas in hand, lingered outside the cinema. Many reported that the movies were just about to start when they were asked to exit the theater, and the smoke was visible inside the lobby as they followed exit procedures.

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The fire department responded a few minutes later and extinguished what remained of the fire.

Natalie Eig, a spokesman with Metropolitan, said that the theater had gotten the green light to reopen at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

“They got the approval to ropen the theater, so they are back open for business,” Eig said. “They just got the green light, and they are currently working on all the details. They are open now and moving ahead.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.