WYNNE, Ark. — The only movie theater in the small town of Wynne, Arkansas went up in flames Monday night. The fire broke out in the upper part of the Wynne Twin Cinema on Falls Boulevard around 9 pm. Thankfully, Fire Captain Gerald Britton says no one was inside.
“They had closed the theater about 30 minutes before and had gone home,” Cpt. Britton said.
Drivers passing by called 911.
“We had flames showing through the roof when we got there, heavy smoke,” Cpt. Britton said, “It just was a lot of fire.”
The devastating news spread through the town as fast as the flames spread through the building.
“My son’s first birthday party we had there,” Kaiti Brodbent said.
Captain Britton says it took crews an hour to get the fire under control. The cause has yet to be determined but, at this time, fire officials believe it was an accident. Captain Britton estimates the owners are looking at $750,000 in damage.
“It was heartbreaking because they’re personal friends of mine,” Cpt. Britton said, “We’ve gone to church together, been friends, our kids have run around together.”
We reached out to the theater’s owners but, according to Captain Britton, they prefer not to speak publicly about what happened because of the tremendous pressure they’re under to rebuild the only movie theater in Wynne. The Twin Cinema has been around for more than 30 years. The next closest theater is roughly 17 miles away in Forrest City.
“You don’t want to lose any business for sure but especially entertainment that helps our kids to be occupied in a safe area,” Cpt. Britton said.
The Arkansas State Police are investigating the cause of the fire. Fire officials say it’s protocol because the structure is a commercial building.