A small fire started in the backstage area of the Shoji Tabuchi Theatre early Wednesday morning.
Around 2 a.m., a Branson police officer was patrolling the area when he heard popping noises coming from the theater, Ted Martin, fire chief of the Branson Fire Department, said, and the officer discovered smoke coming from a doorway in the back.
The fire alarm was set off and the sprinkler system was activated. Martin said the Branson Fire Department arrived on scene within minutes of the call with two fire engines and the ladder truck. There was a second alarm paged for mutual aid, and Western Taney County Fire District and Southern Stone County Fire Protection District were dispatched.
“The firefighters did a spectacular job keeping the fire contained,” Martin said.
The fire was 10 feet by 10 feet, and less than 100 gallons of water was used to extinguish the fire, Martin said.
The fire damaged a large amount of electrical equipment, including extension cords, battery equipment and communication equipment, Martin said. There was some water in the backstage area, but there was also smoke damage.
“We have a saying, ‘small fires produce a large amount of smoke,’” Martin said. “Well, that’s what this fire did.”
The smoke spread throughout the stage and auditorium area, and into the front where the gift shop, concessions and ticket booths are located.
Martin said the fire was controlled within minutes, but it took about three hours to push the smoke out of the theater using large ventilation fans.
Shoji Tabuchi and two staff members arrived after the fire was extinguished to salvage equipment, Martin said. There were no injuries reported at the scene.