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Fire breaks out in theater lobby

Photo by Marlys Barker This picture, taken Thursday, shows the damage that a fire caused to the lobby area of Nevada’s Talent Factory (theater). The fire started when an oscilating fan overheated.
Photo by Marlys Barker This picture, taken Thursday, shows the damage that a fire caused to the lobby area of Nevada’s Talent Factory (theater). The fire started when an oscilating fan overheated.

A major tragedy for the west side of Nevada’s 1100 block of the downtown business district was averted Monday night, thanks to someone seeing a fire in the theater lobby right after it started.

Talent Factory (former Camelot Theater) owner Larry Sloan said, “Thank goodness someone noticed (the fire) and noticed quickly,” because if not, there could have been major damage to not only his building, but all those connected to it.

Firefighters responded before Sloan even knew about the fire. He said a friend called to tell him he’d better get up there quickly, because they were breaking out a window to get in.

Sloan said he was at the theater on Monday and left about 5:20 p.m. Within an hour, he was back watching the firefighters tackle a fire in the theater lobby.

“We had a pedestal fan that oscilated to keep the frost off the windows,” he said. That fan had overheated and caught fire. Sloan said when he arrived, all the plastic parts of the fan were burned and destroyed, with only the metal parts and the motor laying on the floor.

“(The fan) was near the concessions counter, so that counter caught fire,” he said, noting that the fire produced a lot of smoke and soot.

Sloan gives huge credit to the Nevada Fire Department for minimizing damage to his business. “They broke out the smallest window they could find (in the front of the building).” After crawling through that window, they found they didn’t need a big hose, so they brought in extinguishers to finish putting out the fire, Sloan said.

The fire department also ventilated the building by breaking out a couple windows on the upper floor. Sloan said Service Master was in Christmas Eve, providing air purifiers.

The damage was contained to the lobby area, the floor and counter of the concessions. “We consider ourselves very fortunate that it didn’t get involved in the structure (of the building) at all,” Sloan said. An insurance adjustor was coming Thursday to assess the damage, and Sloan said after a $1,000 deductible, insurance should cover the repairs.

The fire is disheartening, Sloan said, but not a deal-breaker when it comes to upcoming shows. “The show must go on,” Sloan said, and therefore plans are still in place for the theater’s next show on Jan. 11. It’s an anniversary show, celebrating the first full year of the Talent Factory. The Jan. 11 show will be a free show, as previously advertised, and will feature the Talent Factory regulars. As always, the Sloans will take donations at the show, and now those donations will likely help pay for the repairs from the fire.

As for keeping frost off the windows, Sloan has a better plan for the future. “I’m going to put a little bigger UL-approved fan in there, and it will be all metal,” he said.

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