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Minor injuries, major horror, in Court Street multiplex fire

Minor injuries, major horror, in Court Street multiplex fire
Firefighters evacuate the movie theater on Court and State streets Tuesday.
The Brooklyn Paper / Robert Voris

At long last, it was the right time to yell “Fire” in a crowded movie house as the United Artists multiplex on Court Street was briefly consumed by smoke during a crowded afternoon screening on Tuesday.

Chaos engulfed the movie theater shortly after 2 pm, as patrons, some covering their mouths, had to find their own way to the smoky lobby of the Bruce Ratner–owned 12-screen theater at State Street in Downtown.

Eight minor injuries, mostly from smoke inhalation, were reported in the fire, which apparently started in the popcorn maker and quickly forced the evacuation of all 11 floors of the building.

Alison Katz and her friend Melissa Garry were watching “The Ugly Truth” in a sixth-floor theater when the fire started.

They said they did not hear the alarm, but learned of the fire when “one of the ushers finally turned on the light, rushed in and told us to get out,” Katz said.

“But no one was leading us, so we just went down the escalators,” she added.

“By the third floor, we could see the smoke,” Garry added. “And all the way through the lobby, you could barely see a thing. I didn’t even see the fire.”

Eight fire units rushed to the scene and brought the blaze under control quickly.

The cinema was open for business almost as usual on Wednesday, with moviegoers flocking to first-run hits, but the main-floor concessions area still bearing the scars of Tuesday’s blaze.

One of the two popcorn makers was, indeed, out of commission.

The movie theater was last in the news earlier this year when owner Ratner put it on the market, though he did not find a buyer.

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