Only Movie House in Paris, Arkansas, Falls to Flames

January 5, 2010

There will be no more weekend movies in Paris, Ark., at least for a while.

The only movie house in the Logan County town of 4,000 people was destroyed by fire Saturday evening.

Fire officials say the blaze at The Main Street Cinema apparently started in the rear of the building and spread. Flames were visible from several miles away.

Kathy Caughman, a resident of the area, said the movie house will be much missed.

“It gave the families some place to take their kids to see movies and have something to do on the weekends,” Caughman said.

She said her family was able to see the smoke and fire as they drove down the side of nearby Mount Magazine.

Fire Chief John Wells said his crews arrived at the scene within minutes of a 911 call shortly before 5 p.m. Wells said the building’s roof collapsed during the blaze. But firefighters succeeded in keeping the flames from spreading to nearby buildings,

“We pretty much got it contained to the building it started in and have saved the buildings on both sides of it,” Wells said.

Witnesses said the theater owned by Randy Trustee had recently undergone renovations.

Caughman said the loss of the cinema is especially hard since it opened several years ago after another theater in the area burned down.

“It’s pretty sad,” she said.

Ten volunteer fire departments responded to the fire.

One of the buildings threatened by the fire was a dental clinic next door. Neal Wade said he and his wife – who works in the dentist’s office – went to the building after they heard about the blaze, to remove important files and tanks of nitrous oxide.

“We had to get everything out of the office,” Wade said. “It was a mess.”

Wade said the loss of the movie house will hurt, for more than one reason.

“It’s kind of the hub for kids. It will definitely be a loss for a lot of kids and adults,” he said.

But, beyond that, he said, most of the buildings in the downtown area are historic and serve as a symbol of Paris, and it’s always a shame to see one go.

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