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A fire rises at Dark Knight screening

But some patrons at Causeway Point cinema continue to watch movie. -TNP
Ng Huiwen

Sun, Jul 22, 2012
The New Paper

SINGAPORE - The last thing patrons to the movie, The Dark Knight Rises, expected was for its poster's claim, "A fire will rise", to be true.

But that is what happened at the Cathay Causeway Point theatre during its 2.40pm screening on Thursday.

As patrons walked into the hall, the poster with the chiselled outline of Christian Bale as Batman against a background of Gotham City bursting into flames, was ominous.

A fire did rise.

Just 10 minutes into the movie, a small section of the curtain near a spotlight on the right wall of the cinema's Theatre 6 burst into flames.

Liew Jia Jing, 20, a fan of the Batman trilogy, had booked a pair of tickets to the movie the night before.

He said: "I had anticipated the movie for a long, long time. I found the previous movie very nice, so I really wanted to catch this one."

However, he did not even get a peek of the Batman character before the fire occurred.

Mr Liew, who is currently waiting for enlistment, said: "All of a sudden, I heard the people who were seated just next to the curtains shout: 'Fire! Fire!'

"I was quite shocked."

The fire, the size of an A4 paper, had started in the middle section of the curtain.

While some surprised moviegoers stood up from their seats and pointed at the fire, more than half of the audience calmly continued watching the movie, said Mr Liew.

He said: "I was sitting right in the middle, so to my right there was the fire and to my left there were people who continued watching the movie.

"For a while, I didn't know whether to get out or to continue with the movie."

Mr Liew said that a person seated near the entrance quickly went out to alert the staff.

Within 30 seconds, one staff member arrived with a fire extinguisher and put out the flames.

The fire lasted about a minute and no one was hurt.

Free tickets

About four to five staff members then directed all the moviegoers out of the theatre to a queue at the ticketing counter, where they were given free tickets for another time slot.

Unfazed by the blaze, he and his friend caught the next available show at around 4pm.

"If I were to watch the movie this weekend, I'm sure it would be crowded and there wouldn't be any chance of me getting good seats anymore.

"I had also bought popcorn and drinks, and didn't want to waste it," he said jokingly.

In addition, he and his friend were each given a complimentary movie ticket that is valid for any show at Cathay cineplexes.

He said: "The movie was great. I would definitely watch it again"

Cathay did not respond to media queries by press time.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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