Movie theater owners are gearing up for a new wave of theater closures after a massive wildfire swept through the industry.
A wildfire burned through the movie theater industry’s largest and most active building in Fort Collins, Colorado, destroying some 80% of the building and forcing more than 1,000 people to flee.
More than 3,500 people have been relocated to shelters, and dozens of other homes are being damaged.
There’s no immediate word on how many people remain inside, but the fire has forced the evacuation of the theater’s theater lobby, and there are no reported injuries.
“The building has been completely destroyed and we have to evacuate,” says David Schmid, owner of Schmid Entertainment, which owns the Fort Collins movie theater.
He says that at this point, the company is “just trying to find a way to get people out.”
It’s not clear how many movie theaters are still open.
Movie theaters are the nation’s largest movie theater owners, with more than 400 in operation across the country.
The theater industry is not the only one that has suffered from fires in the past decade.
Firefighters in the U.S. battled multiple blazes in recent years, and in some cases the fires burned through historic buildings that are now being gutted by the fires.
The Colorado Department of Emergency Management (CEDM) estimates that more than 10,000 structures have been damaged in wildfires over the past three years.
The Fort Collins theater fire burned through a number of historic buildings and burned through its lobby.
The lobby was the largest structure to be destroyed by the blaze, with over 2,000 homes, offices and businesses in its path.
Schmid says that his company is planning to close the theater by mid-March.
The fire broke out on April 15 and left more than 2,100 structures burned.
The building burned for more than three hours before firefighters extinguished the blaze.