Health department shuts down Fort Wayne theater

Angelica Robinson - FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - The Apollo Coventry 13 was forced to shut its doors after multiple failed inspections by the Allen County Department of Health. The movie theater, located at 5495 Coventry Lane, will be closed indefinitely while the owners work to bring the building back up to code.

The reports cited mouse droppings in the concession area, a leaking roof, stained and missing ceiling tiles, and mold on seats. There was also human waste, an odor in the restrooms and debris on the floors throughout the establishment, according to reports. Only three of the theaters had working heat.

The health department received the initial complaint about the theater's condition on on Jan. 2. Several more followed over the next few weeks. Inspectors made a total of nine visits to the theater over the last month.

In the most recent report, health inspectors cited eight previous visits and indicated all inspection reports show "no progress or efforts to comply with orders given." The decision was made to "protect the health of the public," according to the report.

"Once we determined that there were pest and rodent issues, as well as no efforts really to clean those things, along with some of the structural items… it seems like we really did need to close the facility until they did address those things so we wouldn't risk the public's health," said Mindy Waldron, of the Department of Health.

Waldron said it is unusual for a business owner to make no attempt to rectify the issues after multiple visits by health inspectors.

"I would say for the most part, probably 99 percent of the time, folks make efforts that very day while we're there and any follow up inspections because they want to protect the public's health as well," she said.

There are 14 items that the owner, Ravi Thota, is required to complete before the theater can open. The list was compiled by inspectors from the Health Department, Building Department, the Fort Wayne Fire Department and Fort Wayne Neighborhood Code Enforcement.

24-Hour News 8's sister station, WANE, spoke with Thota briefly, however he declined to be interviewed. He said that he is working with managers at the theater to rectify the problem and he anticipates it will be open in a week.

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