The Fort Frances Fire Department was called to the Townshend Theatre’s grand opening night here after a smoke machine from Natalie MacMaster’s stage set off a smoke detector.
Arriving at 9:05 p.m., firefighters realized right away there was no threat of fire, as many concert goers, still socializing in the reception area, ignored the alarm, thinking it to be a school bell.
“We recognized what the problem was, and everything was fine—the system did its job,” said Fire Chief Ralph Fulford of the department here.
Fake smoke from MacMaster’s first show lingered to set off the detectors.
However, Chief Fulford noted the case was slightly curious. “Generally, synthetic smoke will not trip alarms,” he remarked.
Don Lovisa, president at Confederation College, mentioned that students in that part of the multi-use did respond accordingly after hearing the alarm though.
“Our students vacated the building until they knew it was safe,” he said.
Lovisa added the incident wasn’t much of an inconvenience.
“It’s good to know everything works—it’s better to miss a little class than be burned,” he remarked.
Chief Fulford added that if there were a real fire, a “gutter system” above the stage would take care of any outbreaks almost immediately.
The fire department left the scene at 9:25 p.m.