At around 7:40pm Tuesday 29 December, the Woden Hoyts cinema was curiously evacuated for a fire alarm being activated, the cause of which staff could not confirm. The initial story from one usher upon the first confirmation of the alarm source was of “smoke coming in the vents from outside the cinema.”
A few minutes later, another usher explained it was a “poisonous gas” in the smoke that set off the alarm, but that nothing could be confirmed until a fire team arrived.
Perhaps more curious was that there appeared to be no other part of the centre being evacuated. In fact, the two cafes on either side of the cinemas were still open for business, with one still thriving with customers as cinema patrons were being marshalled across the street to the car park.
After patrons were told that a full refund would involve a wait until after the fire team concluded their investigation, chaos ensued in the car park as – even in the event of an apparent emergency – there were cars being held up at the exit gates for faulty or unpaid tickets.