SHERMAN, TX-Hundreds of worried Texomans poured out of the Sherman Cinemark to find patrol cars, fire trucks and ambulances. Victoria Maranan was there and spoke with some of them as well as with fire officials who explained what happened.
Over 300 people were evacuated out of the Sherman Cinemark Monday as employees reported seeing smoke in the building. While it was a simple electrical issue. moviegoers told us they were shaken especially after Friday's movie theater massacre in Colorado.
At around 2:30 Monday afternoon, 350 people were evacuated out of the Sherman Cinemark and moviegoers said they were expecting the worst, especially after the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado.
"We thought something was happening. I mean it just totally stopped in the middle of it and then I saw the lights come on and I thought 'oh my god, something's happening' and a fireman came in and said 'we need ya'll to evacuate' and I thought it was something bad because he was dressed like that. I thought 'oh my God something's gonna happen,'" said Cindy Krasniqi, who was watching a movie with her family.
"I was like, does it happen over again? I was really scared but I don't know, it is whatever," said another moviegoe, Cody Thurman.
Cody Thurman said he was worried about going to the movies after the Colorado incident, but he really wanted to see "The Dark Knight Rises".
"I mean yeah, I kept on checking over towards the exit and I was already kinda having an escape route to get out. I know nothing would've but I'm still kinda paranoid but I really wanted to see the movie," he said.
Sherman Fire Chief, Jeff Jones said a Cinemark employee reported seeing smoke coming out of a ladies' restroom with haze visible in one of the theaters. He said with more than 300 people in the theaters, they had to evacuate the building as a precaution.
"No injuries, everyone got out very orderly, calmly. I think the theater provided some rainchecks for them," he said.
Firefighters found the source of the smoke after about an hour of searching: an air conditioning unit on the roof had malfunctioned.
"In large buildings like this, sometimes we find that an air conditioning unit or an air handler unit are something pretty benign, electrical smell or something like that that causes odor," he said.
Cinemark employees handed out vouchers so patrons could finish their movie later, but some have mixed feelings about coming back.
"They said 'well maybe you can get a raincheck' and we're like 'hmmm maybe not, we'll just wait until everything dies down a little bit,'" said Krasniqi.
"Definitely, but I'll still keep on coming back," said Thurman.
Cinemark's maintenance crew will be repairing the AC unit, which only affected a restroom and the theater next to it.
The movie theater is back open and Sherman fire officials said they don't expect any more problems.