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Avalon theater crowd becomes ill from special effects

The audience at a performance at Hollywood’s historic Avalon theater got more than a show Saturday, when “special effect fogging” caused respiratory problems for more than a dozen people.

Many of those who complained of minor problems after 6 p.m. included young adults; some may have been preteens, said Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department. Most felt better after getting some fresh air outside the theater, he said, though at least two people were taken to the hospital.

Humphrey said a few people at the performance also had superficial burn injuries from contacting “dripping (condensed) liquid from apparent heavy use of smoke effect.”

Authorities said they were looking at a carbon dioxide-powered device that may have caused the problem. It was not clear where, of the many rooms at the Avalon, the incident occurred. But according to the theater’s website, only two performances were listed on its Saturday calendar, including a “Magic and Wine Tasting” show with David Minkin from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. and a concert that starts later Saturday evening.

[Updated at 8:18 p.m. July 21: Shortly before 8 p.m. authorities said that a total of four people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries out of a total of 22 people who were examined.]

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 - Ari Bloomekatz

 
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