Popcorn Fire Causes Georgia Movie Theater Evacuation

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- SpongeBob was silenced and the Polar Express derailed Saturday after a fire at an Augusta movie theater.

Film-goers were evacuated from Regal Cinemas Augusta Exchange 20 after a malfunctioning popcorn machine overheated and caught fire.

Firefighters responded to the theater at about noon, where they found a smoke-filled lobby and a damaged popcorn machine.

The blaze was extinguished by the theater's sprinkler system and a manager who used a fire extinguisher, fire officials said.

``The staff was able to evacuate all patrons from the theater, in good order I might add,'' said Capt. Melvin La Pan, of the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department.

The theater was closed for five hours and no one was injured in the blaze.