Dec 14, 2007

House on fire

During a performance of La Bohème in the Opera Theater of the Seoul Arts Center, everybody had to be evacuated, as fire erupted 15 minutes after the start of the evening. The Korea Times reported the story with the sharpest accuracy: the fire was extinguished in 23 minutes (not 22 or 24 it seems), thanks to the 130 firefighters in 32 fire trucks (not 31 or 33). " The inside of the theater filled with dense smoke causing low visibility within minutes. The more than 2,400 performers, staff and spectators present were immediately evacuated. Around 60 people were taken to a nearby hospital for smoke inhalation. No injuries were reported." Spectators reported that the art center's firefighting system did not work which is a huge deal, if you consider the Theater is pretty new (it opened in 1993); no assessment of the damage sustained by the theater has yet been released, but the Arts Center issued its apologies "to have occasioned the audience and you so much anxiety on account of the fire incident of Opera Theater on Dec.12". The two remaining performances of La Bohème were cancelled (yesterday and tonight). The Opera House is "characterized by a traditional top-hat-shaped roof and a lower section which resembles a human sitting with his legs crossed, is the compact embodiment of the entire Center. The first and only Opera House in Asia, a seven-story building with one floor under and six above the ground is composed of Opera Theater for operas, Towol Theater for plays, Jayu Theater for more experimental productions and backstage. Praised for its absorbent power and intimacy between the stage and the audience, the Opera Theater houses about 2,300 seats. It has a main stage sprawling over 660m2 of floor space, three completely partitioned stages, two supplementary stages and a three-level orchestra pit with capacity of 100 people." I guess they just didn't think of fire extinguishers when they built it...

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