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Fire Official Says Door Molding Prevented People From Exiting Loews Theater

EATONTOWN: A fire alarm and stuck door scared and panicked patrons of the Loews Theater at Monmouth Mall on Saturday, March 24, but a borough fire official said there was no wrong-doing by the theater.

Eatontown Fire Department Assistant Chief Billy Mego said during the March 26 Eatontown Council meeting that he and other members of the department were called to theater at 10:30 a.m. when a fire alarm went off.

“There was dust in the smoke detector in theater number 14, which is the new IMAX,” Mego said. “As we were investigating, police received a report that patrons could not exit theater number seven because the door was locked, it was blocked. At that time I sent the police department over there to check it and they said they didn’t see anything.”

“As we’re getting ready to leave, a couple patrons came up to us and said the door is blocked and they were concerned,” Mego continued. “At that point, I was working with the fire alarm to get that back up and sent some fire fighters to check the door.”

Mego said a black rubber molding strip got caught underneath exit door of theater seven and caused the door to become stuck and hard to open. He said the door was not locked.

“First off, the doors don't lock, there’s a panic hardware,” he said. “They took a little extra give and shove to open, but they opened up.”

Firefighters fixed the rubber molding and had the staff check all the other exits. Mego said the rubber molding on all the other exits were fine.

He said the theater’s emergency alert system worked correctly on Saturday night.

“When a fire alarm goes off at the theater, the lights come on and the movie stops and everyone exits the building and we are called,” he said. “People were nervous and panicky and their management could have handled it a little different, but we were there and we could see no problem."

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