Life Imitates Art as ‘La La Land’ Fire Alarm Coincides With Real One at ArcLight Hollywood

Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival
'La La Land'

Just as an onscreen smoke alarm began blaring, a real fire alarm began sounding.

A smoke alarm in a La La Land scene blended into the sound of an actual fire alarm that went off at the ArcLight Hollywood on Monday night, sending hundreds of theatergoers from an Academy/Guild screening and the multiplex’s other auditoriums out into the chilly weather until firefighters cleared the incident.

The house lights came on as the movie stopped and a klaxon and strobe continued to signal the emergency. It almost seemed as if the onscreen alarm had somehow triggered the real one, but an ArcLight worker said the actual cause was a burning item, perhaps a cigarette butt that someone had deposited in a trash can. (The worker exonerated the archetypical suspect in theater fires, the popcorn machines.) An ArcLight manager declined to comment, and a spokesperson did not return a call.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department received an alarm at 8:28 p.m., said spokesperson Margaret Stewart, and the department’s Light Force 27 was on the scene from 8:33 to 8:46 p.m. Movies resumed about 20 minutes later, after the now chilled moviegoers had retaken their seats. Stewart did not know whether the alarm had been tripped by a smoke detector or other device, or by a person pulling an alarm handle.

No injuries appear to have occurred and it was not known if there was any damage.