Sampson Community Theatre staff have rescheduled performances of Little Women for next weekend after carbon monoxide was detected in the venue Saturday, forcing the theater to be evacuated and the final evening performance to be cancelled.
At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the Clinton Fire Department received a call regarding a possible gas leak and carbon monoxide concern at the community theater in downtown Clinton. Firefighters detected carbon monoxide inside the building and cleared it of the few staff and cast on site, who were preparing for the 8 p.m show.
The theater patrons reportedly smelled what they believed to be an overwhelming gas odor and became sick from the fumes. Reports indicate that propane tanks were being used inside the dressing room areas in an effort to keep cast members warm.
Clinton firefighters remained on scene until carbon monoxide readings reached zero and a representative from the gas company arrived and assisted with the investigation. Officials with the Fire Marshal’s office subsequently shut the theater down until the issue could be resolved.
The Little Women production had dodged cancellations on previous nights, including inclement weather conditions that threatened shows last weekend and on Friday night, but it was ultimately the carbon monoxide that forced performances to be rescheduled.
The show had night performance at 8 p.m. Friday as well as 3 p.m. Saturday, with the final night performance scheduled for 8 p.m. Saturday, to be followed by the closing performance at 3 p.m. Sunday.
Theater staff have rescheduled those performances for next weekend in order to correct potential problems.
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