Moviegoers were in for a surprise on Saturday morning when, in the middle of the films they were watching, they were asked to evacuate the cinema.
About 30 to 40 people were milling outside the Regent Cinema on Lydiard Street from about 11am as firefighters attended to a false alarm.
Ballarat City station officer Brenton Smith said three crews had responded within 90 seconds of the automatic alarm.
“We wanted to make sure the smoke was from cooking as we were instructed and ensure it’s the only alarm that’s gone off and that we don’t have a fire in a concealed space,” he said outside the cinema.
“We made sure it was safe, cleared the smoke out and reset the alarm and they’re back in business.”
Patrons, many who were seniors and parents with young children, said the whole process had been fairly orderly and some children posed for photos in front of the fire truck while they waited.
Box office manager Egan Bevan said the fire alarm in the cafe had been set off by some burnt caramel.
“In terms of any damage or anything like that, there is nothing, it was just a false alarm,” he said.
Patrons returned to the cinema after the short interruption to continue watching their films from where they left off.
“We back them up a little bit so no one misses out on anything,” Mr Bevan said.
“We will cut everything back so that the next movies will start more or less on their registered time. If they don’t, it will be about a five minute delay but we will catch up within the next session or two.”
Mr Bevan, who was called in to the cinema, said he was glad to find out it was nothing more than a false alarm.
“We do fire drills every six months, but even still you hear the alarms, everyone’s adrenaline picks up so for them to keep a cool head… we’re happy with their training,” he said.
Patrons also received free movie tickets as an apology for the inconvenience.