(BEDFORD) - The quick action of Bedford firefighters saved The Great Escape movie theater Wednesday night.
Firefighters were alerted about smoke in the theater's lobby, both restrooms and the viewing room just after 8 pm.
Employees at the theater had evacuated everyone from the building.
BFD Chief Jon Wagner says the fire was difficult to locate.
"They searched the whole building with thermo-imaging and didn't find the fire inside, but on the roof area," Wagner says. "Smoke was coming from behind the soap dispensers in the restrooms and the lavatories, which was strange."
Firefighters had to remove a 2-foot-square section of the roof to extinguish the blaze.
"They found a wire running from the neon sign on the west awning was not in conduit and had been exposed to the weather," Wagner says. "That wire had melted and caught the roof area on fire. They had to cut out enough of the roof to make sure they got all of the charring."
Wagner says BFD Fire Inspector David Wright will be on the scene today to meet with an electrician.
"We have some concerns," Wagner says. "The breakers did not flip off and we had to shut the power down. The electrician was there quickly and he was looking into the problem."
Wagner says firefighters were on the scene for about two hours making sure the fire was extinguished and the building was ventilated of smoke.
"They did a great job," Wagner says. "If the fire had continued to burn and we had been called just a few hours later the outcome would have been bad."
Wagner says the building has about three layers of roofing, with one being rubber.
"Anytime you have that it makes for a difficult fire," he added. "We would have called everyone in because we would have had a major fire that could have possibly destroyed the theater."
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