The Warren theater in Moore, Okla., often the place where fictional heroes perform great deeds onscreen, produced real-life heroes in the wake of Monday's deadly tornado.
After staff and moviegoers safely rode out the twister in the hallways, IMAX manager Alex Ansari tried to calm those wandering the devastation outside and helped to find the injured, the Norman Transcript reports. He then helped emergency personnel evacuate elderly patients and mothers with their newborns from the hard-hit hospital across the street.
The crowd included University of Oklahoma graduate nursing student Andrew Pecore, who sprang into action at the improvised emergency ward.
“I just thought, ‘What am I doing sitting on my couch when this is going on.' I grabbed my scrubs and my I.D. and headed here," he told the Transcript.
According to the Los Angeles Times, theater employees showed their mettle in keeping patrons safe during the tornado as well.
As the 200-mph swirl descended upon the cineplex, an unidentified manager ordered moviegoers into the hallways, the report notes. At 3:15 p.m., an employee shouted to patrons to press against the wall and put their heads down. Ten minutes later, with the building essentially intact, they received the all-clear.
"Most people got up and left, but some of us stayed in the dark hall for about 10 more minutes," moviegoer James Dock told the Times.