Wichita Theater Fire

By: Paul Aker
By: Paul Aker

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Northrock's 14 employees failed to evacuate the entire theater.

The theater's fire alarm was never activated. Some moviegoers say they needed more notice about what was happening and how to get out.

Outside Northrock 14, everyone could tell something was going on. But inside, where the fire burned, not everyone got the warning.

Denise Eklund says Northrock failed to warn her and other customers of the danger.

No alarm sounded and Eklund says employees and managers were nowhere to be found. She heard about the fire from a teenage moviegoer who yelled out.

The emergency call proves there was confusion. The caller said, "There's nobody in charge here."

Northrock managers won't go on camera. But they do say employees did evacuate the one theater directly affected by the fire. But they say there was no need to activate the fire alarm saying quote: "You make an announcement that there is a fire and everyone starts trampling everybody trying to get out the door. There is no need for that."

Wichita Fire Chief Ed Bricknell says a company should activate a fire alarm any time something is burning.

Fire officials say, overall Northrock is a very safe theater, and company officials say they train employees about evacuation, but do say the training happens only on a yearly basis.

Here are some KAKE On Your Side tips about how to keep safe in public places:

--Always pay attention to emergency exit locations.

--Do not linger in aisles or other public areas so you can see what's happening.

--Businesses should review evacuation plans with all new employees.

If you have information for our Community Advocate team to investigate, call 946-1384.


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