Fire can't stop the show

A fire at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre could have been a disaster, but fortunately, it's business as usual.

Jim Harding, society executive director, said a fire broke out in the Green Room Sunday morning, but the flames were contained to one area of the theatre that has become a focal point for performances in the city.

“We were extremely lucky,” said Harding.

Fire damage was limited to furnishings in the Green Room, but sprinklers flooded the adjacent kitchen, hallway and Marie Fleming Hall.

The fire broke out around 7 a.m. and Harding credits “the quick action of building maintenance supervisor Lee Belanger” with preventing a major disaster.

Harding said when the alarm system went off, Belanger entered the Green Room to find it full of smoke and a couch on fire.

“The sprinklers had activated, but he still had to use a fire extinguisher to put it out,” said Harding.

Harding said had the smoke activated the theatre's deluge curtain sprinkler system, flooding the main stage and theatre seating areas.

Vernon Fire Rescue was called and vented the building of any remaining smoke.

Despite the incident, the centre barely missed a beat. Some shows had to be modified, but it is business as usual for the theatre.

The floor of the Green Room, furnishings and the floor in the Marie Fleming Hall need to be replaced.

“We need to get these spaces back into operation as soon as possible. We still have a very busy schedule right up through July,” Harding said.

“We want to assure our patrons and the public that all the safety and fire prevention systems are restored and fully functional and that our performances are going ahead as scheduled.”

Cause and insurance investigations are underway.

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