A Sunday afternoon fire in the concession area of Apex Cinema, 2812 W. Shawnee Bypass, caused the theater's evacuation and sent two people to the hospital.

The fire began shortly after 5 p.m. due to a malfunctioning popcorn machine, which in turn set off the building's sprinkler system, said Muskogee Fire Captain Brian Fuller.

"The system extinguished the fire and flooded the front part of the building there with water," Fuller said. "We got the sprinkler head shut down, removed the smoke from the building and shut the power off to that area."

Fuller estimated the theater would be shut down for "several days" while cleanup takes place.

Muskogee Emergency Medical Service Community Relations Coordinator Trish German said two people were transported from the scene in ambulances. Their conditions and the nature of their injuries remain unknown, German said.

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