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Fire damages new Cinemagic theater in Portsmouth


PORTSMOUTH - A fire ignited by a natural gas leak damaged the roof of the new Cinemagic Stadium 10 theater in the Southgate Plaza this morning, a fire official said.

A snowplow driver working in the plaza spotted the fire around 5:42 a.m., Portsmouth Fire Chief Steve Achilles said.PORTSMOUTH - A fire ignited by a natural gas leak damaged the roof of the new Cinemagic Stadium 10 theater in the Southgate Plaza this morning, a fire official said. Firefighters arrived at 5:48 a.m. and found the rooftop HVAC unit on fire at the 10-screen cinema at 2454 Lafayette Road.

The natural gas and power supplied to the unit was immediately shut off. Achilles said firefighters knocked down the flames using multiple portable extinguishers.PORTSMOUTH - A fire ignited by a natural gas leak damaged the roof of the new Cinemagic Stadium 10 theater in the Southgate Plaza this morning, a fire official said. The fire damaged the roof membrane and insulation, but Achilles said it could have been much worse.

"We could have had a lot of damage if nobody noticed it," he said.

Achilles said firefighters discovered that the weight of the snow on the roof likely caused the natural gas piping to pull away from the unit, creating a leak which then ignited.

Firefighters worried that piping to other units was also compromised by the snow, he said.

The city's plumbing and fire inspectors were called in to inspect the units and will work with Cinemagic and its contractor to address any problems at the theater, which opened Jan. 24.

Inspectors will have to determine whether the problem was related to the snow load on the roof, the roof's design, or the design of the natural gas piping, Achilles said.

Achilles said firefighters were familiar with the theater because it was a new building.

"We're extremely fortunate that the whole department did site reviews over the last couple of weeks," he said.

Cinemagic in Portsmouth has since re-opened. Patrons were urged to check the website or call the theater for current showtimes, said Deb Schimmel, spokesman for theater owner Zyacorp Companies of Bedford.

jschreiber@newstote.com
 


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