San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

April 11th, 2010
Smoke forces Friday night Showplace evacuation

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San Marcos firefighters investigate the cause of smoke Friday night at the Showplace Cinema III on North LBJ Drive. Photos by Sean Batura.

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

Employees of the Showplace Cinema III on North LBJ Drive evacuated their customers after smelling and seeing smoke in the building Friday night.

After San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) firefighters entered the structure and ascended to the roof via crane to search for the source of the smoke, they reported the results of their preliminary investigation: an overheated air conditioning unit.

Firefighters disconnected the unit from its power source and asked Showplace staff to close the right side of the theater.

An SMFD firefighter said Showplace employees did exactly the right thing in reporting the smoke as fast as they did, because the situation would have become life threatening if not addressed immediately. Showplace staff evacuated moviegoers by the time firefighters arrived on scene, which he said occurred about a minute and a half from the call.

The preliminary investigation indicated that the faulty air conditioning unit resulted from a problem related to maintenance and not to engineering or internal policies of Showplace.

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The Showplace Cinema III in downtown San Marcos is well known for its $1 movies.

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