Popcorn triggers Opera House evacuation

TRAVERSE CITY — Hundreds of movie-goers who were settling into their seats at the City Opera House got a last-minute adrenaline rush when fire alarms inside the historic theater erupted into a chorus of chirping and squealing.

Overheated popcorn may be to blame for triggering a fire alarm Wednesday that evacuated Traverse City Film Festival-goers from venue just 20 minutes before showtime. The alarm came in at 5:42 p.m., said a responder from the Traverse City Fire Department. Festival officials evacuated patrons who were already seated for a 6 p.m. screening of “The Gilded Cage.”

“We’re having a fire drill, but it wasn’t intended,” said Sid Van Slyke, festival emcee at the venue. “We think it was the popcorn.”

Waiting patrons snapped cellphone photos and cheered as firefighters emerged from the building after the all-clear about 15 minutes later. The doors reopened at 5:58 p.m. for patrons to take their seats.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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